To support Government of Pakistan to respond to the global pandemic, Save the Children has been at the frontline and after the provision of No Objection Certificate (NOC) granted by Ministry of Interior (MOI), has supported government respond to the COVID-19 emergency.
Collaboration with National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)
A strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed on 17 August 2020 between National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Save the Children International (SCI) as part of a five year framework agreement. A token of excellence was also presented by Chairman NDMA, Lt Gen. Muhammad Afzal, to Country Director Save the Children International (SCI) in Pakistan Muhammad Khuram Gondal on exceptional performance in response to COVID-19.
Under the MoU SC supported the NDMA's national COVID-19 response and recovery efforts through following key programme components:
Safe Back to School (SBS) Program: Adaptation of SBS guidelines at National level to help government plan an integrated, participatory process for safe school reopening after COVID-19.
Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS): SC has supported in strengthening the training capacity at NDMA hospital by providing IT equipment worth 3 million PKR and will continue to provide support through the training sessions on MHPSS for health care providers in future.
Communication Support to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA): Technical Assistance on Program, Communications, Media and Advocacy to NDMA and assist in disseminating NDMA national campaign on COVID-19.
Clean Green Champions in COVID-19: SC PKCO will engage with the Prime Minister's Clean Green Champions (CGC) program and the Ministry of Climate Change to mobilise children and youth, including those with disability , to decide COVID-19 prevention and the environmental conservation agenda post COVID-19.
Health and Safety
Save the Children has successfully donated Personal Protective Equipment worth US$ 100,000 to support the Government of Pakistan's efforts on COVID-19 response in Pakistan. Out of these, 50% of the PPEs have been donated to National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), 40% to the National Institute of Health (NIH) while the remaining 10% of the PPEs have been donated to Save the Children's implementing partners. We also developed a Home Isolation Quarantine System (HIQS) as an alternative to hospital-based care in consultation with the National Institute of Health and District Health Office in Islamabad, Pakistan. This model was piloted with 122 beneficiaries. Under this intervention beneficiaries were provided with PPEs and infection prevention supplies. Further, a brief assessment of the secondary impacts of COVID-19 was conducted with COVID- 1 9 positive households.
Accelerated Learning for Girls (ALG) project is designed to cater to the educational needs of out of school-girls aged nine to eighteen, giving special consideration to physically challenged girls and girls with special needs by making 70 Accelerated Learning Centres (ALC's) in Shikarpur district of Sindh province.SC PKCO worked continuously for out of school children, especially girls, by integrating a Distance Learning Model through WhatsApp classrooms in the project to ensure continuation of learning in the midst of the pandemic. An innovative remote community mobilization model to engage with the community members through social media and online platforms during COVID-19 lockdown was developed to impart information regarding COVID-19, associated measures to prevent infection, and on the need for education and child protection. Under the project, SCI developed an innovative Micro Cluster Teaching Approach for a safe learning environment, once the educational institutions were reopened, where only 4 or 5 children were allowed to visit the schools at one time.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
Save the Children also initiated Hygiene and Behavioral Change Coalition (HBCC) project, and has reached out to 69,460 children (including 148 differently abled children) and community members across 9 districts in 2 provinces and the federal capital through provision of WASH facilities, hygiene kits and behavior change communication messages. More than 50 million people were reached indirectly for hygiene and behavior change communication messages for COVID-19 response. As part of the program, our technical leads conducted online trainings of partners' staff and focal persons from the Education department on COVID-19 and WASH in different batches covering four districts of Punjab and five districts of Sindh province. These trained teachers are now playing a key role to spread awareness about COVID-19 IPC measures and reducing stigmatization among children and their parents. Under the same project, a mass media campaign for airing of TV and Radio Public Service Announcements (PSAs) in all the targeted geographical areas i.e. Sindh (Karachi, Dadu, Larkana, Shikarpur and Jacobabad), Punjab (Lahore,Toba Tek Singh and Khanewal),Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and on National TV channels was run.
These messages were localized according to the context and were primarily focused on sensitizing communities on the promotion of hand hygiene, awareness for vulnerable groups to COVID-19 and other Infection, Prevention and Control (IPC) measures. Additionally, dissemination of targeted messages was also carried out through posters, banners and other IEC material in 9 districts of Pakistan.
A total of 164 handwashing stations in schools and 6 handwashing stations in slum area were constructed under this project.
SC Pakistan also distributed 224 touchless thermometers to facilitate the safe return of school children in the 144 HBCC and 20 nonHBCC schools by enabling the school management to record daily temperature of children and staff. Save the Children also handed over Gift in Kinds (GIKs) including Soaps, Sanitizers and Surface Disinfectants worth 200 million PKR to schools and to the Government to support in the COVID-19 response.