Browse by Theme: Covid19

Responding to COVID-19 in the world's largest humanitarian crisis

CARE International UK CEO Laurie Lee hosts a discussion with Bushra Aldukhainah and Lina Al-Saffi – who are both working on the frontline of CARE’s response to COVID-19 in Yemen.

Recorded on Thursday 21 May 2020.

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What is Women Respond?

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep the world, with widespread global impact at unprecedented scale. There are more than 5.7 million reported COVID-19 cases world-wide, and it has been attributed to over 357,000 deaths, as of May 28, 2020. It is widely recognised that these numbers are both underreported and the impact of COVID-19 on households and communities reaches far beyond these figures. As economies crumble and healthcare systems across many parts of the world face unprecedented strain, caregivers, food producers and providers, and health workers (the majority of whom are women) have emerged as the first responders sustaining life and building pathways toward recovery. CARE is working to understand the gender implications of the crisis as it evolves.

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Just as in the UK, trust, speed and scale is needed to meaningfully limit the impact of COVID-19 in communities already living in poverty. Unlike the UK, countries like Chad, Mali and Niger already had 12.8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance due to conflict and climate change. With support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID),  CARE will be able to reach thousands of people here, but we and our peer NGOs have the capacity to scale this work up significantly, and the experience to make a real impact. The window we have to reach those communities is closing quickly – the international community must accelerate its response before it’s too late.

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This rapid gender analysis finds that women are excluded from information sharing on COVID-19 and from key high level decision making processes at national and regional level, across West Africa. Despite this, the analysis also reveals how coronavirus is creating opportunities to disrupt deeply entrenched gender inequalities.

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Our experience shows that integrating sexual reproductive health (SRH) and gender-based violence (GBV) services into community-led outreach programmes, which prioritise feedback and interaction, are key if we are to meet the needs of women and girls during a crisis. In Cox’s Bazar, women and girls sit at the heart of conflict and fragility as part of the largest stateless population in the world. A new Rapid Gender Analysis of the potential impact of COVID-19 in Cox’s Bazar shows that women and girls face significant risks of a rollback of their rights. A quarter of healthcare workers already report fewer women visiting health facilities, and 43% have heard of a pregnant woman or mother dying in the last week. CARE is calling upon donors and governments to fund SRH and GBV services, as essential services in the COVID-19 response, in line with the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP).

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May 10th was Mother’s Day in many parts of the world – a day when families celebrate motherhood and honour mothers’ contributions to their children, the community, and the world.

It takes a lot of love, effort, and dedication to be a good mother. For that reason, we believe it is important that everyone has the choice whether or not to be a parent, and when to take on that responsibility. Unfortunately, many women and girls around the world do not get to choose; and the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to make the problem worse.

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COVID-19 has become an unprecedented global crisis, affecting everyone - but not equally so. CARE International UK’s new study on COVID-19 and women’s economic justice and rights shows that women and girls are disproportionately affected by the economic effects of global pandemics, especially those in the poorest and most marginalised communities. Women working in garment factories have already lost their jobs, often their households’ only income, while the pandemic is exacerbating other families’ food insecurity. For those living in areas of conflict, COVID-19 is exacerbating an already terrible situation.

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