As COVID-19 globally affected the world, vulnerable communities suffered the most trying to protect themselves from the pandemic while not being able to meet some of their most basic needs to ensure their safety.
The number of individuals in Bedouin communities across Palestine is around 40,000. Manar lives amongst Bedouin communities in the southern Hebron hills. She is the head of her household and was able to better protect her family against COVID-19 with the support of ACTED.
Manar is a widow and works as a shepherd. She is the sole carer for her two sons who both have special needs. Already living in harsh conditions, the pandemic triggered additional challenges that required urgent intervention.
As Manar’s household lacks basic infrastructure, the family did not have functioning and accessible bathrooms. Instead, the family was using metal panels they had installed in the outdoors. This self-made construction did not have a functioning sewage system nor basic bathroom facilities. This left the family i vulnerable to possible contamination to diseases since they did not have any way to sanitize and disinfect their environment. With the widespread of COVID-19, the urgency of this matter became even more prominent and required ACTED’s intervention to support not only this family but the community as a whole.
Since the start of the pandemic, ACTED has been aiming towards mitigating the impact of COVID-19 for communities in need in the occupied Palestinian territory. This project started in November 2020 with the purpose of providing vulnerable families with better means to protect themselves from contracting and spreading COVID-19.
This project provided six schools with water, sanitation and hygiene facilities such as water tanks and financially assisted 105 households in Hebron in self-rehabilitating their facilities while providing them with hygiene kits.
“I always suffered from not having proper facilities in my household and wanted to make the necessary changes but I could not because it was too expensive to do so. When I heard about COVID-19 and how easily it is transmitted I was even more worried. The project that ACTED implemented was very beneficial and really solved an issue that weighed heavily on me” said Manar.
During the implementation of the project, it was clear how life-changing these interventions could be. The lives of beneficiaries were tremendously improved as they were able to perform everyday tasks with ease through their new WASH facilities and with the help of hygiene kits.
As Manar’s renovated her bathroom, her capacity to fight COVID-19 improved through increased sanitation. In addition, this rehabilitated facility provided privacy and seclusion from their surroundings.
I’m very happy to see my mother-in-law benefit from such initiatives. She really struggled before and I’m very glad this project gave her more comfort on day-to-day basis and helped in protecting us from the pandemic.
Manar explained to ACTED team how much she appreciates this initiative as she had always wanted to renovate this facility but could not bear the financial costs: “My living situation is so much better now. This renovated facility has made life so much easier for me and my family because we can finally have privacy and not worry about possible infections. The hygiene kit was also a great help and I often used the different products in it like the masks and gloves whenever I left my household”.
People in this community struggle to meet their basic household needs. Many do not have enough resources to renovate facilities in their household and have to rely on primitive methods for their day-to-day activities. ACTED’s action, with the support of the Crisis and Support Center of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs provided access to basic services, improved quality of life while improving protection against COVID-19.