We have been brain storming with youths on COVID-19! Sharing challenges, fears, knowledge and best practices to stay safe during this period. Thanks to Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives, we shall also be publishing a special COVID-19 magazine for young people in Bamenda.
Young people have been expressing interesting ideas, practices and fears during this period!
Youth Outreach Programme continues to support over 50 young women who are internally displaced and their families to be able to protect themselves in Bamenda as a second case of COVID-19 was reported in the city. Girls and women already bear the brunt of the ongoing crisis in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon and are more exposed to contracting the virus as they hustle to put food on the table for their families. Most homes are headed by women and most are crowded in limited space!
The fight against the COVID-19 has kept kept the government of Cameroon and Civil Society Based Organizations busy, looking for the most efficient solutions to protect the vulnerable. Stringent measures have been put in place to curb the spread of the virus which include: use of face masks especially in public places, proper washing and sanitizing of hands as often as possible, physical distancing and the closing of schools amongst others.
Youth Outreach Programme (YOP) and her partners Mission 21 and Citizen Outreach Coalition-UK continue to distribute essential items needed to main the family healthy. These include, hand sanitizers, soap, face mask made by internally displaced girls attending the YOP skills center and menstrual kits. A series of sessions were earlier conducted with the beneficiaries to teach them how to properly wash their hands.
In a conversation with the young women, they confirm that they respecting the measures that have been recommended. Edongnek Rosemary added that she visits friends only when there is need to and drinks a lot of ginger, lemon and honey to boost her immune system. Sirri Vera and Larri Sali said they both avoid crowded spaces.
They all appreciated the partners saying the items reduces the financial pressures they are going through in paying rents, feeding and paying utilities.
However, challenges are ever present they said! The current spread of COVID-19 and its impact has increased their feeling of insecurity especially in crowded places and taxis, other challenges include adjusting feeding habits as food prices go up and they are bored staying at home. Sirri Vera said the shutdown has slowed down business activities and has caused financial strains.
Women who had benefited from an urban gardening project with YOP and Mission 21 confirmed that they were now reaping twice the benefits in these difficult times because they were selling fresh spices from the backyard garden, giving some to friends as well as eating some!
In the wake of COVID19 nothing is certain. The rules of the game are basic and simple
- Properly wash your hands very often with soap and running water
- Sanitize your hands
- Stop touching your face
- Respect Physical Distancing (1 meter at least)
- Cough and sneeze in a tissue and dispose immediately or in your elbow!
- Put on a face mask in public places
These sound simplistic but are indeed very tough rules to follow. Buckets with water and soap have been put in public places and at the doors of who can afford it! So too dispensers with sanitizer ready for use with the touch of a button!
And we are seeing all kinds of hand washing. from those who basically pass their fingers under the water to those who rub soap and ensure a clean wash.
Proper Hand Wash
A proper hand wash means soaking your hands with water, rubbing soap and the scrubbing your hands with soap for at least the time it takes to sing “Happy birth day to you….”! You rub and rub and rub! In between your fingers! the back of your hand! your palms! and under those nails! This will take you a good 30 seconds at least!
Now you can rinse all the soap with running water! That is the way we wash our hands!
It is not rubbing soap while washing off the lather under water at the same time! Do we make sense! We hope so!
Sports is the singular activity that cuts across boundaries and pulls people together, especially young people and children. At its best it knows no colour, status nor wealth! In a game all players are same and follow the same rules.
For years Youth Outreach Programme partnered with the British Council in Cameroon to deliver ground breaking leadership programmes with youths! These included capacity building activities, local/international youth exchanges and knowledge sharing between other partners such as FECACriket, IYF, and lots more. These, thanks to the British Council Director at the time Jenny Scott, Program Manager Stephen Chia and Trainer Dr. Emelda Samba. Dr, Stephen Ajei of Connect Youth Programme that aimed to broaden the global understanding of youth people was a regular visitor and staunch supporter of the Dreams and Teams project.
Through the project, a core of young leaders were built and most of them are community mobilizers where ever they are today. YOP celebrates all these leaders!