COVID 19 EMERGENCY - Support to People with Disabilities in Internally Displaced People Camps in South Sudan

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Project location: SOUTH SUDAN
Project start date: July 2020 - Project end date: December 2020
Project number: 2020-029
Beneficiary: Light For The World International

The current situation in IDP camps in South Sudan can be summarized as follows:

1. People with disabilities are left out from COVID-19 protective measures in the Internally displaced People camps. There is also a misconception that people with disabilities are not prone to catch coronavirus because they are not mobile!

2.  Police actions who are enforcing social distancing are wrongfully punishing people with disabilities because accessible information on the importance of social distancing and curfews is simply not reaching them 

3. Social distancing and quarantine measures create psychological distress, domestic violence, gender-based violence. 

4. Border closures increased food priced 7 to 8 times and it is not possible to cultivate food in IDP camps! This means that people with disabilities who live in IDP camps have to depend on humanitarian aid.

5. Children and women with disabilities face a heightened safeguarding risk as they see their existing social protection networks severely reduced during this crisis. 

6. There is fighting between tribes in IDP camps. The UN camp had to close for a week in May because of tribal fighting. Humanitarian Aid workers could not go in the camp because of ethnic fighting.

7. Economic repercussions of COVID-19: Due to the lockdown, all borders are closed so it is no longer possible to import food products which means that small traders cannot sell produce on the market. 

8.Repercussions of COVID-19 on Health

a. South Sudan had 156 confirmed coronavirus cases on  10th May 2020. As of 22nd June, 1961 coronavirus cases have been recorded. Cases are expected to go up due to the limited implementation/enforcement of lockdown guidelines coupled with the country’s inadequate health infrastructure. This exposes the millions of people who are recovering from years of civil war and political instability to a great deal of risk of infection. 
b. In the likely event of widespread infections, the most vulnerable will be women, children, elderly  and persons with disabilities as most of these categories of people live from hand to mouth, depending on humanitarian assistance which is equally scarce due to the current situation as a significant number of them live in Internally Displaced Peoples Camps across the country including in Juba.

9. Government Actions

a. Children with visual and hearing disabilities are not accessing the distance learning initiatives set up by the Ministry of General Education 
b. The National task force addressing COVID-19 in RSS is inadequate for people with disabilities.

10. Humanitarian Agencies  and communications are not disability inclusive. People with disabilities have been overlooked because disability is not a priority at the moment for humanitarian agencies and government actions. Eg. Masks were distributed but people with disabilities did not receive them!

11. Food insecurity

a. Children with severe disabilities are not getting food. 
b. Floods are disturbing food distribution 

 

Light for the World devised a comprehensive strategy to address the repercussions of COVID-19 as follows: 

PREVENT
● Raise awareness on COVID-19 in IDP camps with the camp management about and set up referral pathways for persons with disabilities.
● Support other humanitarian agencies to include disability in their awareness raising programs (e.g. accessible information through audio, leaflets and posters) in Mangathen 1, 2 and Mahad.
● Ensure that distributed WASH messages are inclusive and collaborate with the WASH cluster working in the three IDP camps.
● Provide three handwashing facilities in the three camps/Mahad, Mangathen 1 and 2.
● Support people with disabilities to regularly disinfect their assistive devices 
● Ensure that clear and understandable pictures are used for deaf people who do not master sign language and for people with intellectual disabilities.
● Work together with the Health Cluster to include people with disabilities - IMC to provide first aid kits for people with disabilities, epilepsy medication for at least three months, in Mangathen 1, 2 and Mahad IDP camps, as well as in Western Equatoria states in Mundri and Maridi.
● Ensure that messages reach people with disabilities through Media/UN radio and Bakita radio. To reach all people with disabilities in South Sudan as the coverage is in all ten states.
● The team who are working on the Sports for Peace program will visit people with disabilities and teach children who are stuck at home due to school closure.

PREPARE
● Persuade and support humanitarian agencies to include disability in their other emergency response programs. (Clusters and camp managers including UNHCR).
● Encourage and financially support VSLA groups to start a 10% social fund to support community members.
● Ensure that potential future food distribution and other distribution activities are inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities
● Stimulate parents to continue the rehabilitation process of their children with disabilities in the absence of health field workers 
● Prepare an easy Rehabilitation manual for parents who have children with disabilities to continue with the work during the absence of field workers.
● Check in regularly with children and women with disabilities through field workers with families via phone 
● Hand out adapted learning materials during the suspension of schools (keep it simple, tables and reading materials), interlink with schools (part of our inclusive education program)
● Buy smartphones for DIFs and CBR field workers for easy communication and also reach beneficiaries. 
● Ensure that disinfectants are in place for members of disabled people's organizations 

TREAT
● Assess with UNFPA how awareness can be raised in hospitals around accessibility.
● Team up with CUAMM to support their work.

ADVOCATE
● Create awareness with DPOs members on a continuous basis, also for example by sharing messages on Facebook for example about improving WASH facilities.
● Support the DPO network - to communicate with the ministry of health, the health and protection cluster to ensure people with disabilities are included
● Inform and raise awareness on the importance of including people with disabilities in the COVID-19 response of  the health cluster and the Ministry of Health.
● Support DPOs to advocate for support from the government as goods are expensive in the market and difficult to cope up with the situation.
● Advocate for the protection of children with disabilities during the lockdown to avoid domestic child abuse.

The Specific objectives of the Intervention, which received a grant from the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation are: 

(1)  Women, men, girls and boys with disabilities in the targeted IDP camps know how to protect themselves and held prevent the spread of the virus. 
(2) Women with disabilities receive targeted livelihood support services to strengthen their household economies in times of crisis. 
(3) Emergency response interventions, incl. education services, are disability-inclusive in terms of design and implementation. 

The project will be implemented by forming a disability working group with a combination of camp managers, parents and community leaders to make sure that we reach the neediest and also help us monitor the progress and achievement of the program.
Our disability inclusion facilitators and DPO representative will take the lead in awareness raising and training parents in economic and social empowerment.

Activities are as follows:
Activity 1 Distribute Food, masks and liquid soap and non-food items to 174 internally displaced persons with disabilities 
Distribution of self-care supplies (e.g. dignity kits for girls and women with disabilities, liquid soap, face masks, hand sanitizers, gloves, epilepsy medication if needed, and other hygiene products).

Activity  2 Provide Hygiene services in 3 IDP camps to persons with disabilities 
Reconstruct three hand-washing facilities to become accessible for persons with disabilities. Ensure that distributed WASH messages are inclusive (messages from WHO) and collaborate with the WASH cluster working in three IDP camps. We buy locally made wash facilities and put them in different places in IDP camps in an accessible way.
The disability working group will monitor the use of the was facilities to make sure that people with disabilities get the priority to use the facilities.

Activity 3: Protect 34 small businesses of women with disabilities and women who have relatives with disabilities by providing them with seed money
Conduct an online Training-of-Trainers (ToT) on face mask production and soap making for 7 youth from the sports team (to become master trainers). Youth master trainers train 34 women with disabilities and mothers with children with disabilities in face mask production and soap making in three IDP camps. Distribution of seed grants to protect 34 small businesses run by women with disabilities and mothers of children with disabilities from the effects of the COVID-19 crisis.

Activity 4: Enable  2 field workers and 12 disability-inclusion  facilitators to deliver rehabilitation services remotely   and to secure complaint mechanism and to document cases  by providing them with mobile telephone communications
Ensure that potential future food distribution and other distribution activities are inclusive and accessible for people with disabilities. Equip 12 Disabilitey Inclusion Facilitators and 2 community-based Rehabilitation  workers with smartphones for communication and documentation to facilitate remote rehabilitation and inclusion services.

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