Our work in the time of COVID-19
April 29, 2020
The world is experiencing an unprecedented time of uncertainty. As we settle into these new times, we must mitigate the short-term consequences of the new coronavirus, but we can’t stop focusing on the life-changing work we have always done.
As the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic evolve, it is more essential than ever to ensure that people not only have virus-related information and care they need, but ongoing services as well.
World Education is committed to continuing our work to strengthen education systems and to improve services—and ultimately, people’s lives.
The effects of the crisis are particularly challenging for marginalized girls and adults. World Education has been working with partners to plan activities that meet the needs of programs and people most affected by COVID-19.
Following are a few of our specific country programs that are working to stem the spread of COVID-19.
In Cote d’Ivoire, World Education is coordinating with UNICEF and other organizations to implement COVID-19 awareness-raising activities in past and present program communities.
In Egypt, we are working to ensure that teachers receive professional development on English as a Second Language instruction while Egyptian schools remain shuttered.
In Eswatini, World Education’s Bantwana Initiative is providing COVID-19 information and education to children and adolescents who live with HIV by phone and WhatsApp. In a collaboration with PACT, the initiative is working to ensure that young people adhere to their antiretroviral therapy and is providing remote case management support to abuse victims.
Also in Eswatini, the Go Girls Connect project is leveraging its digital infrastructure to educate adolescent girls and young women on COVID-19 prevention and response using remote outreach via mobile phones and WhatsApp messaging. We will also pilot a digital gender-based violence self-screening tool that can link adolescent girls to case workers.
In Ghana, World Education is working to keep more than 9,500 out-of-school girls safe and engaged in learning. We are helping communities to build “tippy taps” to dispense water to allow people to practice proper handwashing techniques while engaging local craftspeople to manufacture and provide soap. We will distribute child-friendly health education materials about the importance of handwashing, sanitation, child safeguarding, and girls' education. We are also working with the Ministry of Education and national partners to set up interactive radio instruction and SMS contact to keep girls engaged in learning. Local community oversight committees will provide mentors to those who need them.
In Laos, World Education, through the USAID Okard project and with the Hands of Hope Center, is improving the accessibility of WHO COVID-19 guidelines for deaf people by providing video translations in Lao sign language. These videos include ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, details on physical distancing, and how to use masks and hand sanitizer to protect oneself.
In Mozambique, the Forca a Communidad e Criancas project is working with the Ministry of Health to identify alternative communication channels for delivering youth-friendly COVID-19 prevention and response messages and materials. We are connecting with clinical partners to help people receive antiretroviral medication so they can maintain low viral loads.
In Uganda, case workers under the Western Uganda Bantwana program are calling and texting members positive parenting and village savings and loan groups members to reinforce positive parenting guidelines. We are also working to use community radio and mobile cell platforms to raise awareness of the increased risk of violence during this time and to provide COVID-19 child protection and parenting messages.
In the United States, adults enrolled in adult education programs are among the most vulnerable and hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic: low-wage workers in the front line of the service sector, preparing and delivering our take-out food, stocking warehouses and grocery stores, taking care of the elderly and ill. Working from our strengths, our efforts in the U.S. have focused, in part, on ensuring that adult education providers know how to access technology tools so that adult learners can continue their learning. The EdTech Center @ World Education launched a new site for this effort, Tips for Distance Learning, and are providing free coaching and technical assistance for adult educators and advisors through weekly Distance Education Strategy Sessions.
The Global Education Coalition, launched by UNESCO to facilitate inclusive learning opportunities for children and youth during the COVID-19 crisis, has already over 80 members and counting. The coalition makes a difference through mobilizing actors and resources, coordinating action to maximize impact, matching on-the-ground needs with local and global solutions, and providing distance education, leveraging hi-tech, low tech and no tech approaches. Read more.
Learn more about how we’ve adapted our approach in the U.S. to mitigate disruptions to education amid COVID-19.