Long Read

The impact of COVID-19 in Africa and Asia – our current activities

As Simavi works in more than ten countries in Africa and Asia, we are very concerned about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in these different countries. For many years now, we work with local partners, governments and communities to improve the health and well-being of women, girls and their families. We always look for the most effective ways to deploy our expertise, resources and network in order to support those in need and make sure we leave no one behind.

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Our vision on COVID-19 and our work

Working from our core values

The current situation and context are different per country, sometimes even per district or community. This means that we cannot offer one blueprint solution or implement one strategy to support our local partners in their current activities.

Esther de Vreede, Director of Programme Implementation at Simavi: “We work with 60 organisations in ten countries and use a tailor-made approach for every country, even for every partnership and programme. Based on adaptive programming principles, our approach is country, context and partner-specific to understand what is needed most in each context and adjust our work based on informed decision-making processes.”

Even under these circumstances, we work from the same core values:

  • Leave no one behind. Social inclusion is one of our key values. Every person should be able to understand and have access to the information provided.
  • The do-no-harm principle. To avoid exposing people to additional risks through our actions.
  • Women-centred approach. In general, women and girls face greater challenges in achieving a healthy life than men and boys. Also, in this crisis, women are disproportionally affected.

“We use a tailor-made approach for every country, even for every partnership and programme. Our approach is very country, context and partner specific.”

Just like in Europe, in all countries where we work, governments announced restrictions from March onwards and preventive measures were taken. Of course, this impacted our work and activities as well. Read below what we initiated to limit the effects of the corona outbreak. For an overview of all restrictions per country please refer to the International SOS website.

Our approach: long-term, sustainable solutions

Simavi is not a humanitarian organisation providing relief aid, rather we work on long-term, sustainable solutions. Our response to this crisis is an adaptive management approach. Adjusting to the new situation requires listening carefully to our partners and our beneficiaries to understand what is needed most and what is needed right now. Preventive and proactive activities are anyway always part of our work and a COVID-19 response can and will certainly be integrated into our work. Through our fields of expertise, we:

  • Focus on sustainable behavioural change. Social inclusion in this process is key: we include all stakeholders with a specific focus on those who are at risk of being left behind.
  • Focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights. Within our work on SRHR, women’s and girls’ health is of particular concern. This is because menstruation, pregnancy, giving birth, and (if necessary) interrupting unwanted pregnancies, have a large impact on women’s health and rights.
  • Focus on water, sanitation and hygiene. By improving access to WASH services, we can improve the lives of women and girls, stop preventable diseases and deaths due to poor sanitation, poor hygienic conditions and contaminated drinking water.

We have been working on global health for almost 95 years. This is what we will continue to do, towards a healthy life for all!

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