Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the regions most affected by the global health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. More than a quarter of the cases worldwide are registered in LAC, and the region includes several of the countries that have the highest mortality rates globally.
The impact of COVID-19 in the region has been exacerbated by the conditions that were already present: the weakness of the public health and social protection systems, economic inequalities, the migratory crisis, inequality in access to water, sanitation and hygiene, domestic violence, and political crisis.
A recent Save the Children report highlights the devastating effects that the pandemic has had on children. 7 out of 10 children were learning little or nothing due to the closure of schools in the region, and almost 84% of parents and caregivers reported that their children had expressed feelings of sadness, anger, anxiety, among others.
The impact of COVID-19 can lead to setbacks in most development goals, bringing the region to levels of a decade ago. Faced with this new scenario, humanitarian organizations, including Save the Children, are called to take immediate action.
As a global organization that promotes and defends children’s rights, our ambition is to ensure that the most vulnerable and marginalized children are prioritized in the global response to COVID-19.
What are our priorities under the global context of COVID19?
Nutrition: We deliver food kits to families in vulnerable situations to guarantee their survival. In Guatemala, we advocated for school feeding programs to continue during the quarantine months and, in support of parents, we are bringing nutritious food to the homes that need it most.
Health: We are providing support to public institutions so that they have the appropriate equipment to provide health services. In Colombia, our Sexual and Reproductive Health Unit continued to operate to serve Venezuelan and Colombian women with all protection measures.
WASH: We distribute basic hygiene kits to homes and schools so that children can comply with hygiene measures and thus avoid the spread of COVID-19. In addition, we disseminate useful information on prevention measures.
Education: We create and distribute educational materials to children and teachers to continue their learning despite the confinement situation. We create resources and tools for teachers, parents and mothers to promote physical and emotional well-being in children.
Livelihoods: We deliver vouchers to the most vulnerable families to cover their basic needs during the months of confinement in Peru and Colombia. In Bolivia, we are strengthening the livelihoods of adolescents and their families through the adaptation of our "Adolescent Protagonists of Development" program to the new context of pandemic.
Protection: We disseminate timely information to reduce the risks of violence against children within the home and we promote positive discipline as a parenting method.
Participation: We are advocating for the guarantee of children's rights in the face of the risks that the pandemic is symbolizing for them. In addition, we are promoting their right to participation and organization, taking their voice to decision-making spaces.