Short updates and links on community action to covid-19

nils carstensen

Dear all,

Sorry for a few days silence my end - but did take a few days of with family over Easter.

From correspondence with Darare/IREMO in Kenya, I'm copying below a short update:

"In Kenya reported cases of corona virus are 189, 7 death, 7 recoveries. We are affected by lockdown of major town and shortage of food and essential is already felt. Food prices is shooting and this will likely affect the most vulnerable households. Basic prevention and protective kits are virtually absent in rural environment. At the moment, through Indigenous Right abd Resiurce Mgt Org-IREMO, roving community/Palc facilitators are disseminating the dangers of the virus and precautionary measures for people to stay safe through palc volunteers- commonly known as shepherds. The messages are translated to the local language people understand."

From Illegal, Mindanao in the Phillipines, Nanette/ECOWEB reports that ECOWEB and other NGOs (and importantly social media) advocacy towards the government is having some impact in terms of social inclusion in its response. Nanette also describes how:
"So many of our Overseas Filipino Workers and seafarers are now returning home without jobs waiting for them here apart from being stigmatized due to COVID-19 cases of some returning workers. The lockdown resulted to temporary stoppage of companies and retrenchments of workers that hurt more the micro and smaller businesses resulting to plummeting of our economy. Our government projected a 40% Debt to GDP ratio after COVID-19 and zero if not negative GDP growth for the year.  Suffering much now are the urban poor and informal workers in the urban areas where hunger is somehow creating distress and dissent making home quarantine a challenge especially for the daily wage earners and the hand-to-mouth informal dwellers. Many are saying while they fear COVID-19 but they worry more of having to sleep with an empty stomachs. Even the producing farmers and fisherfolks have suffered a lot from difficulty of access to market and for lack of access to transport services as public transport being stopped. Life for the IDPs who are still struggling to recover from the impact of previous disasters just become harder.

Access to limited health services is also difficult for the poor and more vulnerable. The limited test kits for COVID were only made available to the severe and those holding power and in authority and their families that aroused much public outcry. Thanks to social media this entitlement action of those in power have become subject to public criticisms. With a number of high officials been infected, access to limited tests became more difficult.....

Now we are pushing for more testing targeted in the slum areas esp in Manila where a number of COVID cases are now reported. We have also lobbied for quarantine areas and living support for those infected poor, vulnerable and marginalized. Access to proper information was also expressed by those in more remote areas without access to mainstream and social media. Proliferation of fake news and false information is also an issue. Access to hygiene and sanitation is also a challenge esp for the poor especially those without access to water. But access to food has been a priority concern expressed by many in the survey we have conducted."
(Nanette - I do hope you forgive me for shortened your original message a bit for this purpose!)

From Brazil the Guarduian newspaper reports how community action in some of the poorest favelas is trying to make up for the failure of action by the Bolsonaro government: 'We're abandoned to our own luck': coronavirus menaces Brazil's favelas -
Good friends have also shared some interesting links to networks of community groups responding to Covid-19 in both the US and the UK. Not surprising but still interesting to see how - despite obviously different contexts - many of the risks, challenges and vulnerabilities - as well as attempts to find partial solutions - echo across the world:
In the US - find the resource library for self-help of the Mutual Aid Disaster Relief network here:
In the UK - learn about the Covid mutual aid network here:  - and for instance a crowd funding platform for support to people in the UK in need of food parcels because of Covid-19:

Please do keep sharing your own experiences and examples of community responses.