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DRC Humanitarian Fund supports NGOs in latest COVID-19 efforts

21 May 2020

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The NGO COOPI has been installing mobile handwashing devices equipped with soap in health centres across the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Credit: COOPI

By Lara Palmisano

The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly covered the globe and reached many countries that are already in the midst of humanitarian crises caused by conflicts, natural disasters and climate change. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), more than 15 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Many of them have fled from their homes due to violence and insecurity. COVID-19 is posing an additional threat as more than 1,500 cases have been reported according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Relief organizations, particularly non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local partners, are rethinking and scaling up efforts to maintain life-saving operations despite a heightened risk of the virus. 

With funding from the DRC Humanitarian Fund, the Italian NGO COOPI – Cooperazione Internazionale – has been providing medical and psychosocial services to vulnerable communities in Yngala, Kasai Province. Following the outbreak of the pandemic, the organization needed to review and adapt its activities by integrating COVID-19 specific actions to ensure that existing services are continued with increased safety measures in place.

“Assistance to children and psychological support cannot be stopped. We can fight COVID-19 together, applying all the necessary measures”, explains Janvier Nigar, COOPI project manager in Yngala.

Thanks to flexible arrangements that have been put in place by the DRC Humanitarian Fund and other Country-based Pooled Funds (CBPFs) that are responding to COVID-19,  COOPI was quick to adapt and reprogramme efforts. Meetings between counsellors and children for psychological support are now held observing social distancing, while activities to support youth socioeconomic reintegration are carried out in smaller groups.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, COOPI has also been installing mobile handwashing devices equipped with soap in health centres across the region, and is providing additional psychological support to local communities. Awareness campaigns with door-to-door sessions, information flyers and posters and broadcast COVID-19-related messages in partnership with the local communitarian radio RECY of Yangala are sensitizing communities to the risk of COVID-19. 

Credit: COOPI

NGOs are critical for the humanitarian community to stay and deliver in an already challenging environment that is now further compounded by the coronavirus pandemic.

That is why more than half of the US$102 million allocated by the CBPFs will be granted to NGOs directly. CBPFs have long-standing partnerships with national and international NGOs, which has made it easy to come together and prioritize funding for where it is needed the most.

Credit: COOPI

Together with the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), CBPFs have been critical instruments to fight the pandemic. So far, a combined total of $204 million has been allocated to support efforts across 37 countries. Additional countries are being identified under the Global Humanitarian Response Plan.

All the latest information on funding and allocations is available in real time via: https://pfbi.unocha.org/COVID19/.