As the coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads worldwide, an unprecedented number of children and young people are no longer attending schools or universities. In this context of a global health crisis, we are organizing ourselves to best maintain our activities with the most vulnerable and marginalized populations across our 19 countries of operation.
According to UNESCO, 85 countries have closed schools across the country, affecting more than 776 million children and young people. And 15 countries have carried out localized closings. If they, in turn, decide to close all schools, hundreds of millions more learners will be disrupted in their educational journey. In this context, Aide et Action’s activities are also impacted. Many of our 19 countries of intervention have taken exceptional measures that affect education.
776 million children and young people deprived of education
To date, here is the latest information from some of our areas of intervention:
- In Senegal, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast, schools are closed throughout the country until the end of March (mid-April for Ivory Coast).
- In Laos and Cambodia, all schools are closed until April 20. In Cambodia, our teams carry out adapted educational activities, in particular by promoting handwashing in schools and by distributing soap to those in the most remote areas. Our mobile library system will also promote handwashing in 100 villages across 8 provinces and provide educational information on virus prevention. Finally, 6,000 families should be made aware through the distribution of flyers on these good hygiene practices and the sharing of information via a loudspeaker system in each village.
- In Vietnam, after almost 2 months of closure, schools are starting to reopen this week (except in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi where the closure will continue until early April).
- In India, the government has declared school holidays from March 15 to 31 in most states. To ensure the safety of children, our teams have temporarily suspended their work in all our projects dedicated to the education of migrant children.
- Some projects in Sri Lanka and Nepal have also been temporarily suspended.
Our teams are particularly attentive to the evolution of the pandemic and to the implementation of the measures and recommendations of the authorities and health authorities.
In this context of a global health crisis, Aide et Action, which fights for access to quality education for all, will continue to do its best to support the most vulnerable and marginalized populations. We hope that learning plans adapted to the situation will be developed quickly by the various governments in order to ensure the continuity of learning for all, children, young people and adults.