The programme, which is funded by the European Commission Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) department, will allow GOAL to expand and build on its COVID-19 preparedness and response activities within Niger, which it has been implementing since the start of the outbreak last March.
The programme was launched on July 23rd 2020, and will see GOAL use its Community Led Action (CLA) approach to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. The CLA approach was successfully developed by the GOAL during the Ebola crisis in West Africa during 2014. The approach puts communities at the centre of the response and triggers collective action by inspiring community members to understand the steps that can be taken to protect themselves
The project will focus on the Zinder region, where most of GOAL’s operations take place and the agency will also work closely with 3 hospitals, 17 health facilities and 130 villages within the region. GOAL will help build healthcare capacity, by assisting in areas such as personal protection equipment (PPE) for staff and increasing water access for improved hygiene purposes.
In addition, GOAL is disseminating health and safety information via local radio, and in local languages. The broadcasts will reach over 170,000 people with information on how to protect themselves and their families from the spread of the virus. This will include advice on social distancing, recognising symptoms and ensuring proper hygiene etiquette.
GOAL’s Country Director for Niger, Leopold Buhendwa, said this additional funding from ECHO will play a vital part in GOAL Niger’s ongoing response to the outbreak, adding: “Thanks to this ECHO funding, GOAL can now support the three districts of Gouré, Tanout, and Belbedji within the Zinder region. This project aims to reduce the epidemic curve in Niger by empowering communities in prevention activities and to reduce the impact of the virus by using GOAL’s CLA approach.’’
Since the start of the global outbreak in March, GOAL has already reached 651,000 people in Niger with vital COVID-19 media messaging (such as radio and social media) and has also reached over 32,000 people with in-person messaging.
To date, Niger has recorded 1,161 cases of COVID-19 with 69 deaths.
There are only 20 ventilators available within Niger, which has a population of over 22 million. The country also suffers from other diseases such as cholera, widespread food insecurity and malnutrition, and a large proportion of the population lacks access to basic water and sanitation facilities.