Ireland’s three largest humanitarian agencies have teamed up with the Irish government to fight the spread of COVID-19 in Sierra Leone.
Concern Worldwide, Trócaire and GOAL Global will implement a €1.5 million response plan. Funded by Irish Aid and the EU, the ‘Team Europe’ initiative aims to support 400,000 people.
COVID-19 continues to spread in all 16 of the country’s districts, where communities and individuals are suffering both the direct and indirect effects of the outbreak, with over 1,700 cases confirmed so far. In a country with an already fragile health system, the three agencies will work together to mitigate the impact of the virus on the country’s most vulnerable communities.
The initiative will be delivered through two coordinated programmes across 11 of Sierra Leone’s 16 districts.
The first programme, led by Concern, and funded by Irish Aid, will be implemented alongside Trócaire and GOAL. Operating in both urban and rural communities, it will focus on both the immediate and longer-term impacts of COVID-19, including:
- Information and training in infection, prevention and control as well as the provision of hand-washing materials. The consortium will also support the government’s COVID-19 communications and messaging.
- Providing assistance to households in quarantine and strengthening community care centres dealing with asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID-19.
- Providing support to vulnerable communities affected by the longer-term impacts of COVID-19, such as food security and livelihood protection interventions, as well as tackling increasing levels of gender based violence. The initiative will also address emergency situations should they occur, such as seasonal flash flooding.
The second programme, led by Trócaire and funded by the EU, will deliver much needed hygiene items such as soap and water to communities at risk, as well as providing support to people in quarantine.
The Embassy of Ireland officially launched the ‘Team Europe’ initiative this week, with Dr Francis M. Kaikai (Minister of Planning and Economic Development), Mary O’Neill (Head of Cooperation at the Embassy of Ireland) and Jamila El-Assaidi (Deputy Head, EU Delegation) in attendance, alongside representatives from Concern and implementing partners, Trócaire and GOAL.
The Ambassador of Ireland Lesley Ní Bhriain said: “Concern, Trócaire and GOAL are well placed to implement this essential response work in Sierra Leone, which will help around 400,000 people. All three Irish agencies have extensive experience responding to global emergencies and their experience in tackling Ebola has been particularly beneficial in responding to COVID-19. This is a bottom-up approach, which will have local organisations at its core, and empower communities to best protect themselves and prevent further spread of the coronavirus.”