We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded a UK Aid Direct grant from the UK Government to respond to the impact of COVID-19 in Sierra Leone.
Through this project we aim to support over 56,000 vulnerable people in Sierra Leone, with protection from COVID-19 and maintaining support for their livelihoods and food security. With our partner MAPCO, we will work in our current project areas of Moyamba and Pujehun districts, southern Sierra Leone, with 68 rural communities.
People living in rural Sierra Leone are not only fearful of the threat that COVID-19 poses to their health, but they also risk going hungry when travel is restricted and markets are closed. Prices of basic food, such as rice, fish and vegetables, have risen sharply; which has had a devastating impact on the ability of vulnerable rural people to access adequate food to meet their nutritional needs.
This project will respond to the most urgent challenges facing these communities: a lack of information about the disease; inadequate resources to protect themselves; and rising hunger levels.
We will do this by:
1) Keeping people informed and safe: Working with our local partner MAPCO and their dedicated team of staff and volunteers, we will raise awareness of COVID-19, the symptoms, the importance of handwashing and social distancing, as well as sharing information on how and when to access healthcare services.
2) Preventing the spread of COVID-19: We are providing essential hygiene and handwashing supplies, so that people can protect themselves and each other. We will work with local soapmaking artisans to increase their production, through engaging trainees and increased training or equipment as necessary. This will ensure the availability of low-cost soap supplies at community level for sustainability, whilst supporting income generation for artisans and trainees.
3) Mitigating the impact on food and livelihoods: We will support rural people with seeds, tools and other farming inputs so that they can increase food production, particularly home gardening kits to grow nutritious vegetables. This will enable people to feed their families, earn an income and exchange food with others in their communities.
This project will not only support people through the current crisis, but also build for the future.
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Minister, Baroness Liz Sugg, said:
“The UK works as a force for good in the world to protect the most vulnerable from the devastating impacts of COVID-19.
“That is why the UK is working with great British charities like Worcester-based Action on Poverty. With support from UK aid, this project in the rural areas of Sierra Leone is helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect communities by providing essential hygiene facilities and improving food production.”