The school year started in Ivory Coast on September 14, with children timidly returning back to their classrooms. Precautions such as wearing a mask, frequent handwashing and social distancing are taken seriously and enforced. Teachers are beginning the year with ‘catch-up’ classes to address the interruption which started back in March. AVSI is working alongside teachers, parents and students to ensure a smooth and safe transition back to school and ensuring that education continues. The activity is part of the USDA-funded project, “Integrated School Feeding and Literacy Program.”
There is a panoply of benefits that stem from adequate and accessible green infrastructure. It is undeniable that they are essential for the urban climate and biodiversity. They can also act as a catalyst for human wellbeing by contributing to develop income enhancement strategies and social cohesion.
On May 25, in Ivory Coast, thousands of children, including the beneficiaries of AVSI’s “Integrated School Feeding and Literacy Program,” head back to class after weeks of school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The West African country that has already reported 2,300 positive cases of coronavirus and 30 deaths became one of the first in the continent to re-open schools. Confident that learning can continue following health and safety guidelines, the Ministry of Education put in place a rotating system with upper classes (3rd, 4th, and 5th grades) going to school on certain days and the lower levels (1st and 2nd grades) on others. Children have to wash their hands before entering their school, wear masks at all times, sit six feet apart, and have bottles of hand sanitizer within reach.
Amid COVID-19 epidemic, AVSI is reinventing itself to be able to carry out projects and accompany beneficiaries. In Kenya, inside the Dadaab refugee camp, one of the largest camps in the world (200,000 people are currently living there), we are using Zoom to train teachers to provide quality education to the refugee and host community schools. The activity is part of the project “Transitional Support for Integration and Quality of Education in Dadaab Refugee and Host Community,” funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).
Physical distance cannot prevent learning. As schools have closed all around the world due to the COVID-19 epidemic, it is essential that children can still learn, no matter where they are or how. In Ivory Coast, AVSI, with the DPCE (Directorate of Pedagogy and Continuing Education), is working with the Ministry of Education to continue providing access to primary education for all children through radio. The initiative My Class at Home” includes a radio show called “Little Stories of Uncle Marco,” in which students, teachers, and hosts read Ivorians short stories and tales.
Due to the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, Diana had to leave her country. She one of the first Venezuelan refugees AVSI met in Alluriquín, where AVSI Ecuador is implementing Activados, a project fostering local integration and peaceful coexistence between refugees and the host community
On October 28-29, in Brussels, the European Union, with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), co-hosted the International Solidarity Conference on the Venezuelan Refugee and Migrant Crisis. Giampaolo Silvestri, AVSI Secretary General, shared the experience of AVSI with Venezuelans in Brazil from the floor.
AVSI is proud to be among the outreach partners in the the BetterTogether Challenge, an initiative launched on October 21 by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
Passi sought refuge in Uganda after the massive killings and instability caused by a rebel group in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in 2017. “It was hard starting a new life here in the refugee settlement, with no source of income, not even water or a piece of soap.” In DRC, Passi and her husband Kibuyi Kimaga ensured the wellbeing of their family primarily through Kibuyi’s job as a security guard at a hospital in Goma. At the time of the killings, Passi was at home with the children and quickly fled to safety. She never saw the father of her children again.
To keep Venezuelan refugees and migrants safe in Ecuador, and to promote integration and peaceful coexistence with the local community, AVSI Ecuador is implementing, in partnership with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the project “Activados.”