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An update on the COVID-19 outbreak in sponsorship communities

POSTED March 31, 2020

An update on the COVID-19 outbreak in sponsorship communities

Find out how the communities we help are adjusting to a new world

By Brianne Binelli, digital content manager, Canada


As we adapt to the new normal spurred by the COVID-19 outbreak — closely monitoring the situation inside and outside of our organization — we’re seeing how starkly different it can be from country to region, city and town.

Indeed, the virus has reached all the countries where we have offices, but thankfully there are still no reports of children, or their families, in sponsorship communities diagnosed with COVID-19 as of today, April 7.

Below is an update on the response to the outbreak in each of the countries where we have sponsorship programs. Although all staff are working remotely, and much of our program and project work is on hold or very limited, the teams are committed to ensuring children and families we help remain safe and healthy. Find out what’s happening below (updated daily).

BURKINA FASO (confirmed cases: 443)

 Country response

  • schools, 36 markets as well churches and places of worship are closed
  • public transportation has been suspended
  • it’s prohibited to have gatherings of more than 50 people
  • the government has provided toll-free numbers for people in need to call
  • cities with confirmed cases are in quarantine
  • there’s a curfew of 7 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Sponsorship community update

  • we’ve shared toll-free numbers with community members to report suspected virus symptoms to health services
  • we’re raising awareness about social distancing and handwashing through social apps
  • we’re making regular calls to community management committees for updates on children and their families

ETHIOPIA (confirmed cases: 69)

 Country response

  • schools are closed
  • public gatherings have been banned, including weddings and other festivities
  • the government is distributing donated masks, face shields and other protective gear

 Sponsorship community update

  • we’re raising awareness about social distancing and handwashing

 GHANA (confirmed cases: 566)

 Country response

  • schools and places of worship are closed
  • government has banned social gatherings of 25 or more
  • the cities of Accra and Kumasi are shutdown, except for essential services

 Sponsorship community update

  • we’re leveraging radio to promote the importance of social distancing, handwashing and more in the local language
  • we’re providing health centres in our operational areas with protective equipment, such as facemasks, hand sanitizer, gowns, goggles and more
  • we’re sharing tips about child protection, as more families spend time at home together

 INDIA (confirmed cases: 8,048)

 Country response 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a complete lockdown
  • government has set up an emergency assistance and relief fund and there has been corporate support
  • government health workers are going door to door in 10 targeted districts in Tamil Nadu, checking on people with symptoms of cold and fever and distributing masks — we work in one of the targeted communities
  • migrant workers are being held at state borders with the intent to quarantine them

Sponsorship community update

  • we’re safely distributing food where needed, including items such as wheat, cooking oil, dal (a pulse), biscuits and more
  • we’re safely distributing hygiene kits where needed, including masks and soap
  • we’re raising awareness about the importance of social distancing and handwashing through pamphlets, posters, stickers and more
  • we’re connecting community members with counsellors, as domestic violence is on the rise

 NICARAGUA (confirmed cases: 7)

 Country response

  • many organizations are working from home
  • some schools are still open but have low attendance and children are being sent home early
  • some private schools are offering virtual classes
  • the Ministry of Health has launched a telephone line to provide information to the public
  • migrants are being monitored by the Ministry of Health

 Sponsorship community update

  • we’re promoting the importance of social distancing and handwashing while offering psycho-social support through radio, television and social media
  • we’re safely distributing hygiene kits
  • our local partners are working with the government to coordinate effective virus prevention measures
  • we’re working with peer and United Nations agencies to develop lines of prevention, a protection group, an education in emergency group and a communication group

 PARAGUAY (confirmed cases: 147)

 Country response

  • schools and churches are closed
  • a national quarantine is being enforced, with access to essential services as needed
  • time in public is being restricted to between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m.
  • the government has announced a food-assistance program to help the most vulnerable

 Sponsorship community update

  • we’re delivering non-perishable food to especially vulnerable families
  • we’re delivering hygiene kits, including soap and sanitizer to especially vulnerable families
  • our team has been in discussion with other non-profits working with children and youth, and we’ll be focusing on creating plans to address:
    • child protection during isolation
    • nutrition for children who no longer have access to school meals
    • good health and hygiene
    • education during and after quarantine as some parents fear sending their children back to school due to ongoing fears of the virus

Thanks to our donors for all they do every day to make it possible for us to respond to today’s needs. If you’d like more details about our response, or would like to provide direct support, visit

Should you have any further questions, our donor-relations’ team is always here to answer them at 1.800.263.5437 or

Until the next time, keep safe and healthy.

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Children Believe works globally to empower children to dream fearlessly, stand up for what they believe in — and be heard. For 60+ years, we’ve brought together brave young dreamers, caring supporters and partners, and unabashed idealists. Together, we’re driven by a common belief: creating access to education — inside and outside of classrooms — is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world.

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