In the organisations's quest to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Niger in general and within its areas of operation in particular, World Vision has joined forces with the Mediator of the Republic, His Excellency lawyer, Mr. Ali Sirfi Maiga, in his national campaign against COVID-19.
After launching in Zinder and Tahoua regions, it was the turn of Maradi to host an event under the framework of this collaboration in September. For six days, sensitisation sessions took place in the various cantonal areas of World Vision's operation areas; namely Guidan Roumdji, Chadakori, Kornaka, Sae Saboa, and Ajekoria. Together with the Mediator, World Vision led activities to motivate actors to engage in the fight against COVID-19 and to continue relief actions in communities in order to mitigate the socioeconomic, health-related, and education-related consequences resulting from the pandemic.
World Vision has been supporting Maradi communities since 1998, particularly with the establishment of its first programme in the Guidan Sori commune. Thanks to World Vision, the Guidan Roumdji area has benefited from more than 100 human-powered boreholes, and considerable support in the sectors of health, education, nutrition, WASH, food security, and child protection.
In addition, since the launch of the response against COVID-19 in Maradi, World Vision has undertaken various actions including the training of religious leaders on awareness techniques, and the delivery of 600 hand-washing devices to health structures, schools, churches, and mosques in the communes of Chadakori, Guidan Sori, Tibiri, Sai Saboa, and Ajekoria. A total of 2,344 boxes of soap were provided to various structures in World Vision's operation areas and to the villages of children registered under World Vision's sponsorship programme. Preventive messages on barrier measures were broadcast in Hausa language through the local radios of Guidan Roumdji, Chadakori, Kornaka, Dan Goulbi and Garkoua. In total, 866 villages were reached by radiophonic messages, and 740,782 people were reached by awareness messages.
The involvement of traditional leaders at the level of their various cantons has enabled a strong mobilisation of populations. Thus, the launching ceremony took place at the palace of the canton chief of Guidan Roumdji. The ceremony was marked by the delivery of a batch of supplies containing 60 hand-washing kits, 30 spraying kits, 30 protective suits, 260 soap boxes, 250 bottles of bleach, 160 units of hydro-alcoholic gel and 15,750 masks; all worth about 12,808,382 FCFA ($ 22,791). The campaign continued similarly in the communes of Chadakori, Kornaka, Sae Saboa and Ajekoria respectively.
During his address, the National Director of World Vision, Yves HABUMUGISHA encouraged the full participation of communities as well as that of the communal and customary authorities which constitutes a key for the good execution and the good continuity of projects which will be implemented in Maradi Region. He also reemphasised the important role played by religious and opinion leaders within communities.
"I would like to assure those who don't believe in the existence of this disease that it is real. For the past four months, I was in Morocco, and this pandemic found me there. I was confined for four months and a few days. This disease is a reality and even if our country has recorded fewer cases than other countries, it is important to be careful and to respect the barrier measures put in place.” testified Imam Toukour during his various interventions in Maradi cantons.
The Mediator of the Republic, while speaking through relevant proverbs and illustrations also reminded the populations at each visit to remain vigilant and not to neglect to respect preventive measures such as hand-washing, wearing masks, and social distancing which have so far been the only weapon in the fighting this terrible virus yet without a cure.
At the end of this campaign's journey through World Vision operation areas in Maradi Region, 2,020 men, 1,190 women, 706 children, 50 religious leaders and 180 customary and administrative chiefs were reached by this awareness campaign.