31 March 2020 - ACTED remains committed to delivering humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable, and is currently scaling up cash and mainstreaming best practices to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.
In response to the global spread of Covid-19, the Authorities in Yemen have announced a series of measures to limit the movements and interactions of people across the country, to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spreading. While ACTED has itself taken strong mitigation measures to reduce the risk of spreading the virus amongst staff and beneficiaries, the organization remains committed to continue provide assistance to the most vulnerable.
Adjacent to the Yemeni-Saudi border, the governorate of Sa’adah has long been an active battleground for the conflict. In addition to regular fighting and airstrikes on community infrastructure, which has led to displacement of communities and interruption of basic services, the population is facing issues to access basic services and income generating activities given the mountainous landscape and landlocked nature of what is a rural area.
Since early 2020, ACTED, with the financial support of Welthungerhilfe (WHH), has been providing food assistance to the poorest and most food insecure people in Haydan, a western district of Sa’adah governorate.
Since the March distribution of vouchers to 675 beneficiary households in the district, ACTED has been accelerating programming and mainstreaming Covid-19 mitigation strategies.
We have taken with us some materials to prevent Covid-19 transmission and printed posters in Arabic to support the awareness sessions with the beneficiaries before the distribution.
To avoid crowds at the distribution point, ACTED has requested beneficiaries to specifically respect the schedule that has been planned for the distribution and has also increased the number of days for the distribution in order to reduce the number of beneficiaries attending each day. In addition, ACTED has adapted its distribution setup in order to ensure a one meter distance between every beneficiary is respected at all times.
The use of protective material, the availability of hand sanitizer, awareness raising sessions and various control mechanisms at the distribution site are assurances for the community that ACTED is taking additional measures to be able to continues its important programming, whilst safeguarding all those attending distributions.
Following the distribution of vouchers by ACTED, beneficiaries can go to selected vendors to exchange the voucher against basic food commodities, such as wheat flour, beans or oil. Whilst this step is not controlled by ACTED, vendors and beneficiaries have been sensitized to use the same good practices as during distribution to avoid any risk of contamination during this second step of the project.
These initial measures urgently need to be supplemented in order to increase preparedness and response capacities in this war battered country. ACTED is planning a major scale-up of its COVID 19 activities to this end in the weeks and months to come.