Working with communities is the task that has been affected by Corona virus pandemic. No movement were allowed to meet beneficiaries of various programs and for some organizations communications with beneficiaries had to get interrupted due to the lockdown which was to be observed in order to help the Government deal with the task of controlling the spread of the virus.
Last week, TOPAFRICANEWS had an Interview with the Executive Director of Hope of Family, Mr. MFATENEZA Emmanuel, who responded to some questions regarding the effects of COVID 19 on the daily activities of this organization whose main tasks need to be implemented in a participatory approach which also most of the time needs physical presence of beneficiaries.
Hope of Family serves residents of Muhanga District in Shyogwe sector where, the Organization’s focus on alleviating beneficiaries from extreme poverty.
Below is excerpts of our Interview:
TAN: Tell us about Hope of Family?
Mr. MFATENEZA: Starting with the brief Introduction of Hope of Family, it is a Non-Governmental Organization which operates in Muhanga District in Shyogwe Sector. The primary goal of Hope of Family is to promote parental involvement in their children education while improving families’socio-economic status.
Families and Hope of Family staff agree on the contract terms to sign in order to effectively support their children and raise their school performance. Parents agree to visit their children on the weekly basis, provide more after-school time for their revision, respond sooner to teacher’s or any other school leader’ invitation to discuss about the child’s learning.
TAN: As Corona virus has impacted us in various ways; how COVID 19 has affected the Organization’s work?
Mr. MFATENEZA: It’s true, the Corona virus has had negative impacts on the work of our organization. You know we should all stay at home to prevent the spread of this virus. And as you still know There were many activities that require that we meet with our beneficiaries, these have been postponed. Among the postponed activities we can cite, for example, training for the parents of children aimed at showing them how they can participate in the education of their children, activities aimed at detecting children’s talents and also family mobilization at the village level where parents also approach neighbours to educate them about the education of their children. All these activities we decided to postpone them to avoid the corona virus.
TAN: Does this means that during the lockdown period your Organization totally closed services to the beneficiaries?
Mr. MFATENEZA: Not at all. As you can be aware, we had also to assume other responsibilities to our beneficiaries during the time of the pandemic like this one of COVID 19. We had to communicate with them, we had to give them food because as you know no one was allowed to go for work. Really, we didn’t stop working. We only changed the way of working.
TAN: You say that you changed the way of working. How is that way?
Mr. MFATENEZA: By use of communication, we stayed together with our beneficiaries. You know that we have donated mobile phones to all of them and even each family has been given a radio. So, we communicated with them via the phones where we have been reminding them about the prevention of COVID 19. We also reminded them to use their radios to listen to the message from Government officials on Corona Virus. As lock down measures were being partially removed, our community mobilization staff also started to go and meet them at their residents. In such circumstances, all of them had to observe the COVID 19 prevention measures such as physical distancing and wearing facemasks. We have distributed those facemasks to all beneficiaries as part of prevention measures among our organizations and its beneficiaries.
TAN: Thank you for this important time to interact on this subject.
Mr. MFATENEZA: You are most welcome236