As coronavirus sweeps across the world, many of our WASL partners, alongside other women peacebuilders, have pivoted their work to respond to COVID-19 and related issues: community awareness-raising, distributing supplies, calling for ceasefires, working to prevent domestic violence as people are quarantined or self-distancing at home, and more. These women peacebuilders are again on the frontlines, shifting from building peace in their communities and countries to working to prevent the spread of a pandemic. When civil society is strong and independent, CSOs can respond to a variety of crises, from war to a pandemic.*
WASL partner Dr. Fatima Akilu responded rapidly to the pandemic by forming ‘COVID-19 Partners in Mental Health’, which brings together psychiatric, psychological and social work bodies in addition to NGO’s working in mental health, to provide free online mental health services across Nigeria.
WASL partner Mariyam Shakeela and the Addu Women’s Association (AWA) have been providing online training and support meetings for women in the Maldives. AWA & Juway’s Kitchen are also providing meals for those in need during COVID-19 and supplying face masks.
WASL partner Mossarat Qadeem is helping raise awareness and distribute homemade masks, hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray – all made by Qadeem’s organization PAIMAN—to communities in rural areas with the help of TOLANAs, or community peace groups.
WASL partner Kawkab Alwadeai is working online with Yemenis to help conflict survivors overcome mental challenges such as PTSD and depression. In Canada she supports refugees and spends time with elderly people, many of whom are alone in isolation during COVID 19.
WASL partner Gohar Markosyan and the Women for Development NGO held an international competition for youth to explore the impact and lessons of COVID19 and suggest to world leaders how to reduce inequalities, poverty, racism, nationalism, wars and environmental catastrophes.
WASL partner Ashima Kaul in India is assisting differently abled people to return to their homes by engaging with stakeholders and organising e-permissions, COVID 19 testing and quarantines. Yakjah Network are also coordinating online therapy sessions using the arts.
In Mombasa, WASL partner Sureya Roble-Hersi worked with Sisters Without Borders to create and disseminate a video about gender-based violence during the pandemic with information on how to report cases and encouraging victims to seek support.
WASL partner Kawther Alkholy and the Women for Justice Foundation champion civil society’s role in shaping democratization, conflict transformation and development. Kawther strengthens the voices of Egyptian women in the diaspora to lead in times of transition.
WASL partner Dr Amat Al-Salam and the Association of Abductees Mothers in Yemen call on the authorities to release abductees and detainees arrested without legal justification to isolate in their homes. They demand that the detainees are provided with the necessary healthcare conditions to prevent the spread of diseases & epidemics in prisons.
WASL partner Rodolfo Domínguez and the Justice, Human Rights and Gender Civil Association are taking a multitude of actions to fight the rising numbers and increasing severity of domestic violence cases during lockdown.
WASL partner Samia Bousalama Letaief in Tunisia is monitoring working conditions in hospitals and providing psychological support to staff. AFTURD have set up a shelter for victims of domestic violence and are leading a “You are not alone” campaign to inform women of the support they can access.
WASL partner Najlaa Sheekh and the Kareemat Foundation are providing food aid to over 1000 Syrian refugee families & Turkish families in need. They plan to train teams to provide psycho-social support & are appealing to local governments to provide PPE equipment.
WASL partner Ahlem Nasraoui in Tunisia, adapted the SheBuildsPeace campaign to the current crisis encouraging young peace advocates to stay home and participate in a virtual hackathon.
In Pakistan WASL partner Bushra Hyder Qadeem is keeping students engaged through storytelling lessons, art activities, video-making & distributing food to people in need. With PAIMAN Alumni Trust, Bushra is protecting vulnerable youth from rising extremisms.
WASL partner Ahlam Almilaji is providing vital support to Syrian refugee families in Turkey through online means. Zeinobia Syrian Women’s Association have organised 15 online interactive sessions involving 115 women and zoom training workshops on peacebuilding.
WASL partner Visaka Dharmadasa & AWAW in Sri Lanka have carried out an integrated response to COVID 19 including food and medicine distribution, organising a 24-hour domestic abuse hotline and encouraging the police to enforce a zero-tolerance approach to domestic violence.
WASL partner Esther Omam & ReachOut Cameroon are providing frontline support to communities through awareness, sanitation and supplies. They ensure medical advice is translated into Pidgin English to increase message reach.
WASL partner Roseline Cassell has been raising awareness of #COVID19 and preventative methods. Roseline and WEDOL are trying to combat misinformation and mistrust of official advice particularly in rural areas.
In Iraq WASL partner Maysoon Ahmed Ismael and the Odessa Organization for Women’s Development are providing information on COVID19 and are raising awareness on domestic advice, disseminating legal advice and providing psychosocial support.
In Morocco WASL partner Dr. Fatima Outaleb and the UAF have mobilized youth volunteers to distribute food and basic necessities to women in need. They are responding to the rising cases of domestic violence through an online counselling platform, legal and psychological helplines and a shelter.
WASL partner Robinah Rubimbwa in Uganda has mobilised her network to set up a support fund for women struggling to buy food because of the crisis. Coalition for Action on 1325 has become part of the national COVID 19 effort, enabling them to travel around Kampala to deliver supplies.
WASL partner Ruby Dwi Kholifah and AMAN Indonesia are working to strengthen solidarity in 39 communities by bringing women together to help others. AMAN are also working with other women’s groups to advocate for gender mainstreaming in Indonesia’s COVID 19 response.
WASL partner, Rudina Çollaku in Albania is carrying out an awareness campaign with the Women’s Center for Development and Culture. She is providing humanitarian assistance and food packages to families in need.
WASL partner Witness Somalia are working to raise awareness of COVID19 amid challenging circumstances in Somalia. They are providing preventive materials for women in IDP Camps in Mogadishu to try to stop the spread.
WASL partner Halima Mohamed and the Coast Education Center are supporting vulnerable women and disability groups by distributing soaps and sanitizers and ensuring COVID19 messaging is accessible and understandable.
WASL partner Clotilda Andiensa is working to prevent the spread of coronavirus by raising community awareness on proper hygiene techniques. Recently, she held a tutorial on the correct way to wash your hands in order to slow the spread of COVID19.
WASL partner Lucy Talgieh is working to mitigate the effects of coronavirus in Bethlehem by helping provide food and basic sanitary materials like soap to those who can’t afford them. “Coronavirus has made everyone in the world equal,” she says.
WASL partner Muna Luqman was successful is calling for the release of some prisoners during COVID 19. Alongside Food4Humanity, Muna is calling for a ceasefire and is providing water, shelter and food aid to remote villages.
WASL partner Fatima Al-Bahadly is leading efforts in Iraq to combat coronavirus by raising awareness in her community about COVID19 and preventive care.
Appearing on MTV Lebanon News WASL partner Maya Yamout raised awareness of the high risk of coronavirus infection in prisons in Lebanon. The Rescue Me organisation successfully appealed to local companies to donate detergents to prisons to stop the spread.
WASL partner Enass Muzamel is working in communities in Sudan to raise awareness about coronavirus and help prevent its spread. She is mobilizing communities to support all parts of society, while keeping in mind how COVID19 is affecting women differently.
WASL partner Hamsatu Allamin is working to prevent the spread of coronavirus in her community by holding demonstrations for small groups of survivors about the importance of wearing face masks and using hand sanitizer.
* This article is regularly updated with our partners’ new initiatives and programs. Stay Tuned!
- Women Peacebuilders Exchange Experiences on Domestic Violence and MHPSS during COVID-19
- How are Women Peacebuilders Responding to Covid-19?
- How do Women Peacebuilders Cope with Rising Domestic Violence and the Humanitarian Impacts of COVID-19?
- Part II: How are Women Peacebuilders Responding to Covid-19?
- ICAN’s Statement on our Gender- and Conflict-Sensitive Response to COVID-19