Humanity & Inclusion's field teams have launched their most expansive emergency response in 38 years. Our goal: ensure the people we assist every day—people with disabilities or chronic health conditions, people with injuries, refugees, and especially older people—have the support they need to be protected from the virus.
Right now, we count 161 new projects that aim to protect our beneficiaries and staff from the virus, and to help them during their countries' lock downs. As COVID-19 takes aim at our planet's neighbors living in extreme conditions, we're ensuring that people with disabilities, people with injuries from conflict, children, women, and especially older people have the information--and even the soap--to stay healthy.
Help us reach as many people as possible.
Seven-year-old Samina lives in Pakistan. She is not able to walk, and cannot use her hands for certain tasks like bathing, combing her hair, or holding some objects. Samina used to be isolated due to her disabilities, but when Humanity & Inclusion invited her to be a part of a children’s group in her neighborhood, things began to change.
Until the coronavirus hit. COVID-19 has forced Pakistan into quarantine, putting huge restrictions on Humanity & Inclusion's activities for vulnerable children, like Samina. Our team is still finding ways to ease the impact of the lockdown on children like Samina and her family, but the virus has effectively placed Samina back into her home. Into isolation.
Before the coronavirus, Samina was outside every day, playing with other children and making friends for the first time in her life.
Before our team provided her with a wheelchair, her friends would carry her around the playground so she could participate in the same activities as them. Physical therapists gave Samina rehabilitation care at the community-based center, and at home she did physical therapy exercises as many as four times a day to help improve her mobility and to use of her hands.
Nine years ago, Samina’s family fled armed violence and has been living in displaced camps since. Her father is a daily laborer. “We are very poor,” her mother says. "We have never been able to arrange a medical treatment for Samina. But thanks to Humanity & Inclusion’s team, she was getting stronger.”
Support amid lockdown
“All the improvements we have observed on her physical and mental condition in recent months risk to be wasted," says Sumaira Bibi, Humanity & Inclusion’s monitoring officer in Pakistan. "Samina felt very elated after each outside activity and we clearly observe a visible increase in her mental growth. Kids need to interact with children and play. By playing with toys, she was able to better move and use her hands and fingers. Such activities are essential for their well-being and growth. Samina also need to follow her rehabilitation exercises to ensure that her mobility will not be totally lost.”
Although our community workers cannot continue organizing children's activities during the lockdown, our teams are finding ways to provide vital support. “We have kept in contact with Samina's mother to help ensure that Samina performs her physical therapy exercises at home regularly," Bibi explains. “It is important to maintain her mobility. Sessions on health and hygiene, as well as social distancing are also being organized with Samina's family to help fight COVID-19."
Feeding a family
Samina’s father hasn’t been able to work for the past three weeks. They have very little to eat. Humanity & Inclusion donors ensure that her family will receive food, as well as a hygiene kit.
Like many parents, Samina’s mother and father find it very difficult to see their children so frustrated, depressed, and helpless during this global health crisis. Samina’s parents hope that the ongoing situation improves quickly so that she can meet up with the children’s group again. It’s not only fun for Samina, but it’s also one of the best therapies for her growth.
Humanity & Inclusion in Pakistan
Donor support has enabled our teams to work in Pakistan since the early 1980s, initially addressing the needs of Afghan refugees. Today, our mission has evolved to include issues that emerge from natural disasters. Learn more about our work in Pakistan.
Humanity & Inclusion’s teams in Togo are taking action to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Our priority is to help the most vulnerable people understand the importance of taking basic precautionary measures. We’re also helping others cope with their fear of the virus.
How does the virus spread? How can a person protect themselves? What’s best way to help people with disabilities, who are often the most vulnerable? Humanity & Inclusion tackles these questions and more.
Spreading awareness messages far and wide
Humanity & Inclusion’s team drives around the streets of Togo’s capital, Lomé, broadcasting prevention messages through loudspeakers mounted on the roof of their vehicles. “It works really well because people want clear information on how to protect themselves and their loved ones,” explains Irène Manterola, Humanity & Inclusion's country director in Togo. “There are a lot of mixed signals out there, so it’s not easy for everyone to navigate.”
Basic precautionary measures adapted to the most vulnerable
For many, the recommended precautionary measures are impossible to apply. For example, what about a wheelchair user who needs help bathing or eating? “Social distancing, okay! But people with disabilities or older people—individuals who normally need a caregiver or health or medical assistant, cannot be left to fend for themselves. We need caregivers to be able to protect themselves, while also attending to the most vulnerable,” Irène adds.
Making hygiene accessible to all
The price of hygiene products in Togo has soared in recent weeks—including a seven-fold increase in the cost of sanitizer gel. This makes it even more difficult for people to take precautionary measures. To combat these challenges, Humanity & Inclusion’s teams are making bleach and soap for hygiene kits, so that the most vulnerable have access to these essential items. “We hand them out to our beneficiaries and in the poorest areas, where there is more overcrowding.”
Radio programs to reassure the population
The pandemic has generated a lot of fear in Togo. To help people manage this fear, our teams have recorded a series of radio segments. “One of the biggest problems we face is how to gauge the information. People need to know how serious the situation is without making them feel completely helpless,” says Irène. Building on the success of these programs, we are now working with the country’s union of psychiatrists and psychologists to create a free counseling helpline that anyone can call seeking support.
Humanity & Inclusion in Togo
Humanity & Inclusion has been working in Togo for nearly 23 years and implements multiple projects. This work is particularly in aid of people with disabilities and highly vulnerable groups. We work to improve the healthcare services provided to mothers and children, we promote inclusive education, and much more. Learn more about our work in Togo.
For people living in the world's poorest countries, accessing information looks very different than it does in the United States. Living far from town, many remote villagers know little or nothing of the pandemic.
As COVID-19 devastates communities around the globe, Humanity & Inclusion is going the extra mile to ensure that as many people as possible, especially people with disabilities, know how to protect themselves.
Learning how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 is the only way to prevent countless tragedies and to mitigate the spread. Humanity & Inclusion's teams have launched 72 COVID-19 projects in dozens of countries to protect and care for the people that often get overlooked.
Life is harsh in Fokontany Ambodimanary, part of Madagascar's Maevatanana district. Here, people struggle to provide food, clothing and care for their families. COVID-19 can seem like a distant threat. But the emergency is becoming very real.
Marcellin, 36, was trained by Humanity & Inclusion to help teach people here to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. A member of the local relief team, he makes daily visits to the homes of people with disabilities, people who are older or highly isolated, and the most vulnerable families in his community.
He teaches them how to protect themselves and the people around them.
“We need to wash our hands regularly”
Albert, a father of five, has taken the lessons on board. The whole family gathered in front of their home and listened carefully recently, as Marcellin explained the basic precautionary measures to protect themselves from the virus. He took his time, showed them the proper way to wash their hands, and answered their questions.
“I learned that we need to wash our hands regularly with soap and stay at least one meter (or three feet, the WHO guidance) from other people to protect ourselves from the virus,” explains Albert.
Preventing the virus' spread
In regions of Madagascar not yet under lock down, it is essential that everyone is able to access information, particularly the most vulnerable people living in highly remote areas.
Marcellin is keenly aware of the importance of his mission. “The community takes a close interest in the messages I share with them about this terrible virus,” he says. “I’m glad to be able to do my civic duty.”
Humanity & Inclusion in Madagascar
Humanity & Inclusion has been working in Madagascar for nearly 35 years and implements multiple projects. This work is particularly in aid of people with disabilities and highly vulnerable groups living in areas regularly devastated by cyclones and floods. Learn more about our work in Madagascar.
Our team is taking special measures in Madagascar in response to the health emergency, following several confirmed cases of COVID-19. As part of two projects organized with CARE International and funded by the European Union, local relief teams are being trained to convey core prevention messages on the disease and to limit its spread. The teams are staffed by volunteers—men and women of all ages—including people with disabilities.
Relief teams adjust to the emergency
The local relief teams involved in these two projects normally work on prevention and natural disaster and weather risk management, to help people develop responses to cyclones, floods, etc. One project targets more than 300,000 people, including 300 highly vulnerable families, 60 schools and 43 disaster risk management committees. Another targets 412,000 people, including older people and people with disabilities, along with 23 local organizations. Local relief teams are adjusting projects in order to raise awareness of the disease and teach others how to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19.
Providing vital information
We’re sharing essential information on the virus--its transmission, the symptoms, suspected cases and people at risk, but also social distancing, hand washing, routine prevention measures, practical advice and other ways of raising awareness of health and protection measures to combat COVID-19. Humanity & Inclusion is training the members of the local relief teams, teaching them how to protect themselves and raise awareness amongst the people they assist. The learning aids used, such as posters and leaflets, comply with international standards. Posters will be displayed in each sector of the village communities where we work and in schools supported by the project. Specific and adapted advices will be provided to those with specific communication needs, such as Deaf people, people with hearing disabilities, and those with visual disabilities.
Training has already begun
Training sessions have already begun in the regions of Boeny, Betsiboka and Diana, and particularly in the Fokontany of Ambalavola, in the urban district of Diego. Participants were asked to stay a minimum of one meter (3 feet) apart and to refrain from any physical contact. Although the twelve members of this local relief team are more familiar to sharing information about weather-related natural disaster risks, such as cyclones and floods, they understand the pressing need for this initiative, faced with the epidemic. Each member follows the news closely and takes their role seriously.
A member of the local relief team and deputy head of the Ambalavola Fokontany, Paul has already begun raising awareness amongst the community. “At a gathering this morning, we asked beneficiaries to stay one meter (3 feet) apart. This training is very important because some information is not known here,” he explains. “The training allows us to separate the facts from the rumors and fake news circulating now, and to get across evidence-based, focused and comprehensive messages on how to prevent the disease. We also taught them new things, like hand-washing techniques. Now it is our turn to play our part.”
Photo: A beneficiary holds a flyer in Madagascar that was created by Humanity & Inclusion to share awareness messages about fighting the spread of COVID-19.
Jean-Loup Gouot, Director of Humanity & Inclusion in Bangladesh, tells us more about our work in aid of Rohingya refugees in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Nearly one third of our teams are continuing our ‘essential’ work and providing response to the COVID-19 epidemic. Other staff members have adopted alternative working methods—they work from home or do not work at the moment—and are ready to help if we need to beef up our emergency response.
For people living in refugee camps and host communities, our teams organize awareness-raising sessions on good hygiene practices to stop the spread of COVID-19. We also identify people requiring medical care and refer them to partner organizations, and provide personal psychological support to the most vulnerable individuals—the Rohingya refugees who need it.
Humanity & Inclusion has made two warehouses available—in Unchiprang and Dhumdumia—where national and international humanitarian organizations can store humanitarian equipment, a fleet of trucks can transport humanitarian aid such as hygiene kits and mobility aids, and relief for other organizations, to people living in hard-to-reach areas. We have noticed an increase in the number of trucks transporting specialized equipment in response to the coronavirus emergency.
As many Humanity & Inclusion staff members are working from home or are temporarily off work, our human resources team has developed an online training platform to build the capacities of our national and international teams. Over the next few days, they will be able to access more than 150 compulsory, recommended or optional online training courses, including on the humanitarian response to COVID-19, which can also be accessed by other colleagues in Nepal.
We aim to adapt our activities to assist Covid-19 victims and expect to launch a number of new projects very shortly.”
Archive Photo: Humanity & Inclusion staff conduct an emergency intervention in a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh in 2018.
The Covid-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 4.1 million people and infected more than 192 million people globally, with numbers still rising. In the United States alone, there are more than 34.2 million cases cases as of July 23, and more than 610,000 people have died.
Humanity & Inclusion's field teams have launched their most expansive emergency response in 39 years. Our goal: ensure the people we assist every day—people with disabilities or chronic health conditions, people with injuries, refugees, and especially aging adults—have the support they need to be protected from the virus.
We know that fair, universal and equitable access to vaccines is essential in stopping the spread of this deadly virus.
Protecting the most vulnerable
As Covid-19 continues to take aim at our planet's most vulnerable neighbors, Humanity & Inclusion donors are ensuring that people with disabilities, people with injuries from conflict, children, women, and especially older people have the information—and even the soap products—to stay healthy.
Donor support has helped launch or adjust more than 170 projects to help more than 2.2 million people we serve and staff keep the virus at bay. These projects also help people during their countries' lock downs. An example of projects include awareness and prevention actions in Algeria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Colombia, Ethiopia, Haiti, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Sierra Leone, and other countries.
Help us reach as many people as possible.
Hygiene awareness for everyone
Our teams are providing adapted stay-healthy messages to people with disabilities to ensure they have accurate, accessible information. Other messages are specifically targeted at caregivers. All of our messages are conveyed in a way that ensures that target audiences can understand the message.
We have 💯 #WorkPride knowing that HI teams are working harder than ever to ensure people with #disabilities, older people, #refugees & vulnerable individuals are included in our #COVID19 response.— Humanity & Inclusion U.S. (@HI_UnitedStates) May 11, 2020
We launched 1⃣6⃣1⃣ activities w/ INCLUSION top of mind.
Please support the communities we serve
Visionary, globally minded donors can help break the spread of Covid-19 abroad. We are so grateful to supporters for stand by the sides of the people we serve as they confront the pandemic.
They will need your continued support.
Covid-19 interventions, a selection of projects
Humanity & Inclusion teams are mobilized in most of our organization's 59 countries of intervention to help limit the spread and to fight Covid-19.
Our logistics team has made two storage areas available for national and international humanitarian organizations, along with a fleet of trucks to move hygiene kits, food, and medical supplies into position. Read more about our work supporting Rohingya refugees during this challenging time.
We're extremely concerned about refugees living in overcrowded camps. Jean-Loup Gouot, our program director in Bangladesh, explains the risks faced by the most vulnerable, including people with disabilities.
Despite a daunting economic crisis caused by restrictive measures to combat the spread of Covid-19 in Cambodia, Humanity & Inclusion continues providing in-person and virtual rehabilitation care. Read more about how our teams continue to support people with rehabilitation needs.
Central African Republic
Humanity & Inclusion's Logistics team in the Central African Republic is storing and transporting medicine and other essential supplies on behalf of other humanitarian communities. Jimmy Müller Baguimala Kobé, a logistics officer for Humanity & Inclusion, offers a glimpse into the challenges facing the team as they deliver life-saving aid during the pandemic and conflict in the region.
Democratic Republic of the Congo
In the DRC, our teams are extremely concerned about the lack of health structure in the country and the challenges that come with protecting individuals living in a dense area. In this video, François Madieye-Yaba Fall, Humanity & Inclusion's Director in Democratic Republic of the Congo, explains the impact of COVID-19 on people in the DRC, especially in Kinshasa, the capital.
Humanity & Inclusion's teams continue to monitor people we support via phone and video, and provide core, stay healthy messages. We are also distributing hygiene kits to people with disabilities and providing psychosocial support to those who need it most. In this video, Lucile Papon, Humanity & Inclusion's Head of Programs in the Middle East, explains the situation in Amman, Jordan and the impact the virus is having on our operations.
Our team is taking special measures in Madagascar in response to the health emergency. As part of two projects organized with CARE International and funded by the European Union, local relief teams are being trained to convey core prevention messages on the disease and to limit its spread. The teams are staffed by volunteers, including people with disabilities. Read more about our response in Madagascar.
In Nepal, where confinement is in force, Humanity & Inclusion is working on making prevention messages accessible for people with disabilities, and planning on offering hygiene kits. We will also work on answering questions about food shortages since supply chains are sometimes broken—making it even more difficult for the most vulnerable. In this video, Shrinkhala Khatiwada, Miss Nepal World 2018, urges everyone to ensure inclusion and accessibility while fighting Covid-19.
In 2021, Nepal continues to battle a second wave of infections that is overwhelming hospitals and resources. Read more about our response in Nepal.
Covid-19 makes the situation even more difficult for people with disabilities. One example is shared by Angelina Robinson, Humanity & Inclusion's Director in Pakistan. In this video, she tells the story of an HI program participant who could not take her sick child to the hospital due to her disability and the ongoing pandemic.
In Rwanda, the tension linked to the epidemic have added to the emotional commemorations (April 7) of the 1994 genocide. Humanity & Inclusion, whose continuing activities concern refugee camps, is planning to intervene on inclusive education and psychosocial support.
In Somalia, where oral culture dominates, Humanity & Inclusion's team is leaning on our database of several thousand people we've worked with to send prevention messages and offer psychosocial support.
In Togo, our teams produce soap and bleach to respond to hygiene issues related to Covid-19. This story goes into more detail.
Please make a gift today to help support those who need it most.
*All funds raised through our www.hi-us.org/COVID_donation page will be designated to our Covid-19 response efforts. However, any funds raised beyond the needs of our Covid-19 response will be used to support other vital programs around the world.
Our field teams are changing the ways they work to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This includes reviewing their current actions, while implementing new projects to protect people from the virus. We’re also dealing with the impact of the crisis, focusing on people with disabilities, children, women, as well as isolated and older people.
As of March 31, there are 809,600 confirmed coronavirus cases in 179 countries and territories. In the 55 countries where Humanity & Inclusion works, 94% are affected by the pandemic. It is vital to prevent the spread of the virus in Africa, Latin America, South and Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Despite the small number of officially identified cases in many of these countries, we must act now.
Protecting the most vulnerable
“We are adapting our operations in all countries where this is still possible,” says Fanny Mraz from the Emergency Division at Humanity & Inclusion. “Our first aim is to protect our beneficiaries—those who are among the most vulnerable to this virus. The challenge is to prevent transmission of the virus and meet the basic needs of vulnerable people, so they do not become even more vulnerable and ensure they have access to food, hygiene products and health services.”
“In line with the situation in the field, we are making these changes in every country. We have placed some projects on standby, adapted others, and launched new ones specifically to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. For the time being, our priority sectors are hygiene, protection, access to livelihoods, psychosocial assistance, and logistics support to humanitarian actors for the transport of humanitarian aid.”
Reinforcing 37 existing projects
Nearly 40 of our projects have adapted their actions to implement (or to prepare) measures in response to the virus, including multiple awareness and prevention actions in Algeria, Bangladesh, Colombia, Ethiopia, Haiti, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Sierra Leone, and other countries. We have also adjusted our logistics activities and humanitarian assistance in central Africa to include the use of gloves, masks, and hand sanitizing gel, particularly in Rwanda. The number of projects shifting to a COVID-19 response is subject to constant change.
Hygiene awareness--for everyone
Any emergency sanitation and medical responses must be combined with awareness-raising and educational messages. This helps protect everyone and strengthen the impact of the fight against the pandemic. Raising awareness about good hygiene, like washing hands and coughing into elbows, and protection measures is urgently needed to combat COVID-19. Our teams have been trained to protect themselves and provide the people they assist with inclusive prevention information. Learning aids, such as posters, comply with international guidelines on the crisis, as well as accessibility standards.
“We recommend ways that members of the Humanity & Inclusion team and their beneficiaries can protect themselves when they meet each other. This includes hand washing with soap, the use of hand sanitizing gel, social distancing, and in certain cases, wearing FFP2 masks in health facilities. We face the same problems as people everywhere. It will be just as difficult to get FFP2 masks as it is in Europe, perhaps more so. Other problems will probably include a spike in discrimination and violence based on disability, gender and age, but also towards groups like migrants, displaced people, asylum seekers, refugees and returnees,” Fanny adds.
Our teams will provide adapted messages to people with disabilities to ensure they have accurate, accessible information. Other messages are specifically targeted at caregivers. All of our messages will be conveyed in a way that ensures the target audience can receive the message.
Future actions: an emergency response adapted to COVID-19
Humanity & Inclusion’s Emergency Division has created a COVID-19 crisis emergency response framework that integrates the need to support pre-determined priority sectors for governments, communities, and individuals in the countries where we work. Where it is not possible to access populations, we will implement a specific response based on the media, digital resources, and internet sites.
“Emergency action includes the distribution of hygiene equipment and livelihood assistance. Atlas Logistics, Humanity & Inclusion’s logistics operations unit specialized in supply chains and logistics solutions for other humanitarian aid actors is ready to respond. Atlas Logistics can make its logistics platforms and expertise in analyzing access problems available to the humanitarian community,” says Fanny Mraz. “We should also provide close support to people with intellectual disabilities who can develop specific symptoms—severe stress and anxiety—in these situations. We will also keep a close eye on the stigmatization of people affected by COVID-19, particularly people with disabilities.”
Securing the resources for action
Our teams on the ground will require additional resources to combat the COVID-19 crisis. We will need financial support, along with special equipment which is currently in short supply around the world, and in short supply to our local teams.
We will do everything we can to protect as many people as possible and help break the spread of COVID-19. We are so grateful to our supporters for standing alongside us as we take on this challenge. But we will need your continued support.
The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 900,000 people and infected more than 28 million people globally, with numbers still rising. In the United States alone, there are more than 6 million cases cases as of September 10, and more than 190,000 people have died.
Such suffering is layered with job losses, food insecurity, and unrest. The coronavirus has reached all 61 countries where Humanity & Inclusion works—impacting each of our 2.8 million beneficiaries.
Humanity & Inclusion donors have fueled a huge COVID-19 emergency response. As of mid-June, they have launched or adapted more than 170 projects to protect people confronting the virus with too few resources, especially those with conflict at their doorsteps. Awareness and prevention activities are helping people in Algeria, Libya, India, Nepal, Sierra Leone, and other countries to learn the practices, and gather the materials, such as soaps, to keep their families safe.
Our priority is to make sure that the people we assist every day—people with disabilities or chronic health conditions, people with injuries, refugees, and older people—are not overlooked.
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a new virus, coronavirus. This new coronavirus first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, and is called COVID-19. COVID-19 is a contagious virus that causes mild to critical respiratory symptoms with fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It can be transmitted through person-to-person contact, though much remains unknown about how it spreads.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms of COVID-19 include respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. In more severe cases, it can cause pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome. At greater risk are people with chronic health conditions and older individuals.
How can I prevent getting COVID-19?
The World Health Organization has the following recommendations for the general public to reduce exposure:
- Frequently wash your hands by using soap and water (for at least 20 seconds), or else use an alcohol-based hand rub
- Maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Note that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention suggests 6 feet.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home if you feel unwell.
How is Humanity & Inclusion responding to COVID-19?
Our top priority is the health of our staff and beneficiaries. We’re doing everything we can to provide our teams with information on the protection and health measures to take to protect themselves and the community from the virus. Right now, we count more than 170 new projects that aim to protect our beneficiaries and staff from the virus, and to help them during their countries' lock downs. As COVID-19 takes aim at our planet's most vulnerable neighbors, we're ensuring that people with disabilities, people with injuries from conflict, children, women, and especially older people have the information--and even the soap--to stay healthy.
How dangerous is COVID-19 for people with disabilities?
The pandemic is present in all of the countries where we work. The people we assist every day--people with disabilities, people with injuries, refugees and displaced people—have the right to the same protections and precautions. The most vulnerable of the vulnerable, our beneficiaries already experience poverty and exclusion, conflict and disaster. The dire situation may prove disastrous for people living in some countries where we work, and more specifically for the very individuals we assist, some of whom live with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, or the effects of being older. The goal is to provide them with more support than ever.
Donate to help Humanity & Inclusion ensure that individuals with disabilities are included
We will do everything we can to protect as many people as possible and help break the spread of COVID-19. We are so grateful to our supporters for standing alongside us as we take on this challenge. But we will need your continued support.