New Moves to Uphold Children’s Wellbeing in Burundi
Oct. 12, 2020
Children in Burundi are at growing risk due to the continued threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. National interventions to limit the spread of the pandemic have met with some success - with the country experiencing relatively low rates of infection. Yet difficult conditions persist with thousands of displaced children and widespread poverty.
In addition to the health situation in the country – with epidemics of cholera, Ebola and malaria in addition to COVID-19 - Burundi has been severely affected since the beginning of the year by floods resulting in damage and many people forced to leave their homes.
War Child has been active on the ground in Burundi since the start of the pandemic - implementing an active emergency response plan. We’ve been inside communities to provide people with information to shield themselves against infection - and providing direct deliveries of hygiene kits.
War Child distributed hand-washing kits to schools and recreational places to combat the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Increasing community engagement
Risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) sessions were organised through children's recreational spaces and schools. The sessions served to generate widespread awareness of the risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic - reaching more than 45,000 people in total.
We also engaged in consultations with young people taking part in our programmes to encourage them to take part in these awareness-raising efforts. With financial support from our programme, a group produced two songs to raise awareness about the virus. These were played throughout communities via a vehicle fitted with sound equipment and broadcast on local radio stations.
Infection-prevention assessments identified schools and recreational spaces in need of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) equipment. We distributed hand-washing kits to 379 schools and 103 recreational spaces. These kits are comprised of two large buckets with taps, two basins, two cans and stools to support the buckets. Each kit also contains 72 pieces of soap.
Municipal education departments were also provided with disinfection kits containing sprays and chlorine to use where needed. The sanitation and hygiene structures we’ve provided have proved vital to supporting communities in preventing the spread of the virus.
Our mission in Burundi
War Child in Burundi - in parallel with our COVID-19 response activities - continues with its mission to uphold the social and emotional wellbeing of children and their families.
Schools in the country currently remain open - ensuring we can continue to uphold the structures that keep children safe and provide children with access to vital psychosocial support. And thanks to the work carried out by child protection bodies, with the coaching of War Child, more than 10,000 children who had dropped out of school have returned to school in September 2020.
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