“And still they persist..” – 8-PART SERIES on Community Protection and Revitalization from the Front Lines of Covid-19 Response

by Sophie Soares

2020 has proven to be an unexpectedly dynamic year as we face the Covid-19 crisis head-on. Amidst the pandemic, practitioners and advocates are finding innovative ways to build and sustain social cohesion, among girls and their communities, now reservoirs of disease rather than a solution and in a climate of social distancing and other restriction.

 

In humanitarian and other emergencies, adolescent girls play several crucial roles simultaneously, sometimes not by choice:

  1. As household managers of younger members’ welfare;
  2. As partners with and supporters of older household members; and
  3. As the often-sole protectors of their own personal security under stress.

Girls for all seasons: In humanitarian emergencies, adolescent girls and young women are a crucial social and health shock-absorber population operating in four arenas. Graphic created by Judith Bruce and Samantha Berg.

But it is a fourth role that the Adolescent Girls Community of Practice and its partners has observed is most pivotal during crises and one that is frequently overlooked or underutilized:

Adolescent girls as social first-responders both inside and outside the household, serving as architects of foundational and resilient heath promotion, delivery of health assets, and the strengthening of community governance structures.

In April 2020, in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, we explored this particular role more deeply, as it plays out in the contexts of Guatemala, Lebanon, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Mozambique, and Native communities of the United States, in our webinar “Adaptations in Crisis: Stress Testing our Intentional Design Model for Girls’ Programs”. (See more of our webinars HERE). Now, several months into this pandemic, we want to revisit this subject, highlighting the innovations of several of our partners in the Community of Practice and the learnings of our own team members in our local offices.

We encourage you to take the opportunity to learn from their strategies for building girls’ assets amidst the pandemic, not only reviewing a summary of their activities here but visiting the many resources they have graciously shared with us to put these ideas and tools more within reach for all of us working so hard on the ground.

The 8-part series is as follows and can be found both at the links below, as well as on our “Field Experiences” blog HERE:

Part 1: Girl-Led Solutions and Adaptations to Programs in the Time of COVID-19 in Bangladesh, by Sigma Ainul and Sajeda Amin

Part 2: The Swift Adaptation to Covid-19 by Girl Move Academy in Mozambique, by the Girl MOVE Team

Part 3: Batonga Foundation Takes on Four Critical Activities in Benin’s Covid-19 Crisis, by Caitlin Hone

Part 4: What Does a Native Girls’ Covid-19 Response Fund Look Like?, by Kelly Hallman and Lisa Polen

Part 5: Nurturing Minds/SEGA School-Driven Response to Covid-19 in Tanzania, by Shira Landskroner-Eiger

Part 6: The Abriendo Oportunidades Response to COVID-19: Advocating and Providing for Indigenous Populations in Guatemala, by Angel del Valle

Part 7: Stories of Grit, Hope and Resilience from JLMC’s Girl Power Project During the Pandemic in Uganda, by Vivian Glyck, Audrey Kanyesigye, and Tessa Davis

Part 8: SMASH’s response to COVID-19 in Mwanza, Tanzania: Strategic Communication, Adaptive Restructuring, and Prioritizing Sustainability, by Sono Revocatus and Samantha Berg

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