At the height of Covid-19, 1.2 billion children were out of school.
Street Child prioritise children in the most marginalised populations who were out of school before Covid-19 hit and for whom the pandemic has deepened their predicament, increasing their likelihood of being left behind and forgotten.
When Street Child launched Covid-19 appeal on the 28th of March 2020, one of the very first UK charities to do so, we could not have predicted the immense impact Covid-19 would have on every aspect of our lives across the world.
To launch a relevant and impactful response to the global pandemic Street Child drew upon its experience in the 2014/2015 West Africa Ebola epidemic.
Our work during this time informed our decision to focus upon prevention, as the full scale and severity of Covid-19 was still unclear. We resourced proactive prevention activities on scale during the first period of global and national uncertainty, particularly amongst vulnerable populations often last to be informed and most crucially, mobilised our network of local partners into action.
By May 2020 the majority of our programmes had adapted to the pandemic context and were running prevention, protection, education and livelihoods activities tailored for remote delivery where necessary.
Reaching people with key messages about Covid-19 was Street Child’s first priority in order to strengthen community knowledge and improve hygiene practices.
We took three distinct approaches to achieve this: i) household and community level messaging; ii) access to handwashing; iii) remote level prevention messaging e.g. radio.
For example, we were able to reach 35,486 people including vulnerable Rohingya refugees and host communities in Cox’s Bazar despite these communities being hard to access and blocked off through door-to-door messaging.
Street Child, having identified that 1 in 2 children in our communities had no access to any alternative forms of learning during school closures in the Covid-19 Crisis, confronted this challenge through Last Mile Learning.
Last Mile Learning is a remote alternative that uses interactive resources, local materials such as sticks and recorded instruction to ensure access to learning even, and especially, in emergencies. A simple, sustainable schedule allows learners to create a safe, secure and stable routine that offers immediate psychological protection and prevents disengagement and dropout.
In Nepal, thanks to Last Mile Learning, the number of girls who were able to read paragraphs/stories and those who were able to recognise triple-digit numbers, doubled; a remarkable result.
159,216 people were supported to access protection services or referral information from March – October 2020. Our teams worked hard to support children impacted by increased protection risks resulting from Covid-19. The combination of schools being closed and families facing economic hardship put children at exaggerated risk of child labour and child marriage.
In response to the severe rise in protection issues identified in refugee camps in Uganda, the team incorporated more social workers in their programming and 111,917 individuals in Uganda were simultaneously sensitised on Covid-19 prevention and educated on protection risks; how to identify a child at risk and how to make referrals.