Care For Community

Thursday, May 21, 2020

As a component of USAID’s Sindh Basic Education Program (SBEP) in Pakistan, the Sindh Community Mobilization Program (CMP) works to strengthen linkages between communities and district education officials. This helps enhance meaningful community involvement and a sense of ownership in day-to-day school management and local decision making, all aimed at increasing students’ enrollment and retention, particularly for girls, in primary, elementary, and secondary grades.

With the recent spread of COVID-19, the in-person meetings and community visits have ceased. The School Education & Literacy Department responded to the crisis by closing schools, and the Government of Sindh province issued guidelines that enforce social distancing. The pandemic has started to have a devastating impact on education across Pakistan. 

To help with this challenging situation, the USAID CMP developed an innovative way to continue its outreach and community mobilization efforts with the communities it supports. With the ‘Care for Community’ initiative, CMP designed a campaign to use digital platforms to stay connected and maintain community spirit. 

The USAID CMP developed content from authentic sources, including Pakistani national and provincial governments, United Nations agencies, and the U.S. Government. The Care for Community initiative follows three main themes:
1) raising awareness about COVID-19; 2) establishing a platform to exchange information about health and well-being of community members; and 3) providing information about CMP activities, The messages are in Sindhi, Urdu and English languages. The CMP team uses SMS texts, WhatsApp groups, and MS-Teams for remote conferencing, as well as direct phone calls to reach those without access to smartphones or reliable internet connections.

The Care for Community initiative has gained momentum and positive feedback from education officials, teachers, and community members. The CMP team is now moving from sharing awareness messages to engaging with stakeholders on program-related activities. The  CMP team will continue to learn, adapt and improve community interaction as Pakistan’s COVID-19 efforts continue.

Samina Kalwar, Head Teacher at the Government Girls Primary School in Pandhi Kalwar, district Kashmore said: “We are thankful to the CMP team who is providing us this useful information through WhatsApp, not only this has raised our awareness but we will further disseminate these messages within our families and communities. We request you to please continue sharing this important information and message.”

Mrs. Safia Brohi, Deputy District Education Officer (Primary) in district Jacobabad said: “After the outbreak of Coronavirus, and the closure of educational institutions, it felt as if everything was frozen and life came to a complete standstill. But then we heard from CMP district Jacobabad team saying we are still with you and will guide you through difficult situations and keep you informed of safety and precautionary measures. This gave us a sense of security and ownership. Whenever we get a call from CMP, it seems like there are people who care about us. Thank you, CMP.”

For more than a half century, the United States has been the largest contributor to global health security, saving lives all over the planet. The United States has led the fight against Ebola, and supported countries battling HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and other infectious diseases, including leading the fight against COVID-19.

With nearly 18 million in new contributions, the United States is collaborating with the Government of Pakistan to help stop the spread of COVID-19 nationwide and care for afflicted people.  All of these contributions were identified as top priority needs by Pakistani authorities, and they are fully paid by the American people. Over the past 20 years, the United States has invested more than $18.4 billion in Pakistan, including $1.1 billion in health assistance.

 

Last updated: August 06, 2020

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