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How we’re responding to COVID-19, Part Two: Adapting

Our partner Nigerian Health Watch shares information about protecting oneself from the novel coronavirus.

Earlier this week, we wrote about how we’re responding to COVID-19, particularly through our Preventing Epidemics program. Today, we write about how our other programs are adapting to new circumstances and working to keep people safe.

Our staff and partners in each of the countries where we work have had to reevaluate their activities in light of local conditions. We’ve provided flexibility and guidance to our grantees, while facilitating the sharing of information and approaches across countries and using preexisting forums for feedback and discussion.

Across programs, we’re adjusting to meet emerging needs from the spread of coronavirus. We’re also making sure that COVID-19 doesn’t threaten other public health wins. In India, for example, our partners are supporting authorities to address challenges they face in providing health services while protecting patients and health workers against COVID-19. In places where food insecurity is becoming a growing concern due to the loss of school food programs, we’re seeking to ensure that people still have access to safe, nutritious and locally produced foods, free of added sugars and trans fats.

“We’re supporting our grantees as we all adapt to this new landscape,” Kate Midden, Director of Communications for our Road Safety program, said. “That includes respecting that this is a disruptive and concerning time for our staff and partners, sharing resources to manage communications and advocacy efforts and working collaboratively to iterate our approaches in light of COVID19.”

Some activities can only be done in person, and have to be postponed. Wherever possible, we’ve moved events online. We’re also using this time to focus on partner capacity-building.

Helping organizations assess and strengthen their capacity for effective advocacy is a core part of our approach. Since our partners around the world are now confined to their homes, we’re taking the opportunity to focus on capacity assessments and virtual trainings, including the testing of new online advocacy planning tools.

Later this week: How our people are responding.