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Results of the AIC call for projects to address the COVID-19 pandemic

As many have noted, the health and economic crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic is having a greater impact on the most vulnerable people in our society. New needs have emerged and poverty has increased. In order to cope with this, AIC volunteers all over the world have mobilised themselves to continue supporting the most disadvantaged people.

To support the work of the volunteers, in July, AIC International launched a call for projects to fight against the consequences of the pandemic.

A large number of AIC volunteers took part, submitting 40 projects from Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. All of them demonstrate the creativity and commitment of the volunteers in tackling the many challenges we are facing today.

The projects are mainly about education and training (support for schooling, provision of IT tools to close the digital divide, virtual and/or face-to-face training in various fields, particularly with a view to reintegration into the labour market); hygiene and health to prevent and fight against the pandemic; nutrition (distribution of food or meals, creation of urban vegetable gardens, school canteens) and/or sustainable development (raising awareness about environmental protection, recycling and the fight against waste; manufacture of ‘home-made’ products; organic farming; seed banks).  Several projects also include actions to improve the living conditions of the most disadvantaged people: provision of decent housing; psychological, social and spiritual support; distribution of clothing, and mobility assistance.  The main beneficiaries of these projects are children and adolescents, elderly people, women and families.

Our most sincere congratulations to the groups who presented the selected projects and also to all the volunteers who are actively involved in offering the best possible support to our most disadvantaged brothers and sisters in the context of this pandemic!

The following 6 projects were selected for priority funding:

  • ARGENTINA, Bahia Blanca: “More connected than ever in times of pandemic”

Objectives: Offer individualized support to 45 children and 50 adolescents from families in vulnerable situations during the period of social isolation generated by the pandemic.  Provide school and computer equipment that will enable them to continue their schooling, reduce the digital divide and accompany these young people in the process of technological adaptation that they need to prepare for the future. Build their self-esteem and help them become stronger mentally and spiritually, as well as offering targeted educational support to those who need it. To achieve these objectives, which benefit both the young people and their parents, the volunteers work closely with schools and the local authorities.

  • BRAZIL, João Pessoa: “REPELEC: Friends of nature through love for Mother Earth”

Objectives: Provide training in soap production for 150 women and their families through the recycling of used vegetable oils, as well as coconut oil-based disinfectants and natural cosmetics. Originating from the collaboration between the volunteers and the Archbishopric of Paraíba, this project is the result of a reflection aimed at reducing our carbon footprint by purchasing fewer raw materials and recycling products considered as waste. The products manufactured are intended both for personal consumption and for generating income for the beneficiaries’ families and communities. The women are encouraged to pass on the training received and share the skills they have acquired, thus contributing to the sustainability of this initiative. Through this project, the volunteers also wish to encourage the whole family to love and preserve Mother Earth.

  • BURUNDI, Gitega:Hygiene for all to prevent and fight against the spread of COVID-19”

Objectives: Promote better hygiene for all in order to prevent and fight against diseases by organizing training in the production of natural soaps for 350 elderly people. These people are particularly exposed to COVID-19 due to the fact that they do not have sufficient resources to obtain soap. Raise awareness about barrier gestures and environmental protection. Pass on the training received.  Set up an income-generating activity that will enable the volunteers to finance their actions supporting disadvantaged people. These elements, combined with working in partnership with various local stakeholders, will promote the sustainability of the project.

  • EGYPT, Cairo:“Providing laptops for disadvantaged students”

Objectives: Promote the education of 12 young girls from disadvantaged families by supporting them in their schooling and by providing them with laptops or computers, as well as a wi-fi connection that will enable them to continue learning. Classes are being given online 3 days a week due to the pandemic.  Access to a classroom is also provided to guarantee them an internet connection in case it is not accessible at home.  As the Ministry is providing free laptops to high school students, the volunteers have planned that the girls will pass on the laptops to other students when they finish primary school, which will ensure the sustainability of the project.

  • ECUADOR, Quito:“Urban vegetable gardens”

Objectives: Following the numerous job losses resulting from the general lockdown in the country, offer distance learning on urban agriculture to 128 adults and 23 children in order to encourage the creation of urban vegetable gardens.  Cover the economic needs of families, in particular through the sale of surpluses at local markets, improve their diet and raise awareness to better care for life and nature. Promote community interaction and solidarity. This initiative responds to the concerns of the leaders of working-class neighborhoods with whom the volunteers work closely. The volunteers wish to encourage its replication in other cities and regions of the country.

  • UKRAINE, Brody :“We are close to you”

Objectives: Improve the living conditions of 22 vulnerable elderly people, most of whom live alone. These people are particularly suffering from the pandemic due to lockdown and a generalized climate of fear.  Offer them psychological and social support and spiritual guidance at a distance. Distribute food parcels and sanitary and hygiene supplies, and when it becomes possible, organize activities that help build social ties. In order to be able to identify the elderly people’s needs and respond to them in the best possible way, mobile teams will be trained to carry out visits and various local partnerships will be developed. The volunteers also wish to inform older people about their rights and responsibilities in this time of crisis.

Below is a presentation in alphabetical order and by continent of all the other projects received.

AFRICA

  1. Madagascar, Farafangana:Improvement of the daily life of 72 mothers in vulnerable situations” – Empowering mothers by setting up a henhouse, which they will have to take care of in shifts. The proceeds from the sale of the chickens will be used to buy chicks and their food and to finance a canteen.

  2. Madagascar, Farafangana: “Promotion of human rights through schooling, a school canteen and health monitoring of 103 vulnerable children” – Supporting the education of children by offering them school support and medical follow-up and access to a canteen, where they will receive a balanced meal 5 times a week.

  3. Nigeria, Abuja: “COVID-19 Response Training and Empowerment Project” – 50 beneficiaries – Improving the livelihoods of male and female victims of forced displacement by providing them with training to improve their self-reliance, diet and health. Help them protect themselves from COVID-19.

  4. Central African Republic, Bouar: “Contributing to the protection and prevention against the COVID-19 pandemic in CAR” – 3,000 beneficiaries – Carrying out awareness and prevention workshops on COVID-19 aimed at the population and local authorities.

LATIN AMERICA

  1. Argentina, Clorinda: Connecting the disconnected” – 213 beneficiaries – Providing students in 2 schools with the necessary IT tools to enable them to continue their long-distance schooling and encouraging reflection aimed at promoting the optimal use of new technologies. Tutoring for pupils who are experiencing difficulties.

  2. Argentina, La Banda: A.N.N. (Production, Food, Nutrition, Needs)” – 50 beneficiaries – Offering basic training in bakery to facilitate the reintegration of the beneficiaries into the labour market so that they can achieve financial autonomy. Encourage a culture of solidarity and raise the beneficiaries’ awareness of the importance of work to improve the living conditions of their families.

  3. Brazil, Alegre: Transforming lives” – 50 beneficiaries – Training women in sewing and embroidery with recycled fabrics. The training will include entrepreneurship and awareness workshops on recycling, ethics and citizenship. This project will enable the women to enter the labour market and improve their living conditions.

  4. Brazil, Alta Natal:Caring with love: a strategy to deal with COVID-19” – 50 beneficiaries – Distributing food parcels and hygiene kits to young people from disadvantaged neighborhoods, while raising their awareness about the barrier gestures to fight against the spread of COVID-19.

  5. Brazil, Maceió: Awakening minds and bodies” – 12 beneficiaries – Awakening the creative side in young girls by training them to paint on different surfaces. The practical training will be accompanied by conferences, visits to museums and exhibitions and the screening of documentaries. The results of the practical work will be exhibited and they will have the opportunity to sell them if they wish.

  6. Brazil, Pau dos Ferros: I am hungry! Feed me” – 15 beneficiaries – Supporting homeless people with drug addiction issues who live on the margins of society by offering them food aid and socio-educational and spiritual activities. Increase their self-confidence and confidence in life and enable them to rebuild links with their families and society.

  7. Brazil, Recife: Learning to survive” – 26 beneficiaries – Teaching vulnerable families how to make handmade soap and raising awareness about barrier gestures.

  8. Brazil, Salvador: Promoting actions for a better quality of life” – 40 beneficiaries – Training in sewing to unemployed women with low levels of education to enable them to enter the labour market and thus increase their income.

  9. Brazil, Teresina: Project with the children and teenagers living in the railway village of Teresina-Piaui” – 78 young beneficiaries – Fighting against dropping out of school by offering individual tutoring. The pupils’ families will receive food parcels and have their awareness raised about barrier gestures. Minimize the negative influences of a difficult environment by offering young people conferences, activities and reading material aimed at giving them ethical, moral and spiritual education that promotes their social inclusion and helps to combat violence and drug abuse.

  10. Colombia, Chinchina: A decent roof for the elderly” – 5 beneficiaries – Providing decent homes for vulnerable elderly people and helping them to become self-sufficient. Different socio-cultural activities will be offered. These people will also benefit from medical follow-up and an urban agriculture project will promote their food security.

  11. Colombia, Circasia: Playing and singing stories of peace” – 50 beneficiaries – Supporting the education of children and young people by providing them with technological supports that will allow them to follow a virtual training programme that promotes creativity, artistic development, reflection and spiritual growth.

  12. Colombia, Barrancabermeja: Strengthening human rights in times of COVID-19” – 30 beneficiaries – Improving the living conditions of vulnerable older people by offering them different activities that help them to live well in old age by improving their cognitive abilities and providing them with spiritual, psychological and emotional support. These people will also benefit from the advantages of medicinal plants and nutritious fruits.

  13. Colombia, Bogota: Education towards the recovery of dignity of people who are victims of armed conflict or in vulnerable situations” – 50 beneficiary families – Helping several families who have had to interrupt their training and education because of the pandemic by providing them with computer tools that will allow mothers and/or children to continue their training or schooling online. The families will also benefit from moral and spiritual accompaniment, economic support and food aid.

  14. Colombia, Pereira: United we are more efficient – Zero Hunger, SDG n°1” – 50 beneficiary families (128 people) – Providing food and spiritual assistance to families, setting up a system for joint management of resources to guarantee food aid for all, and providing people of working age with tools that will enable them to meet the needs of their families.

  15. Colombia, Rivera: Decent homes for the general health of elderly people” – 15 beneficiaries – Improving the housing conditions and quality of life of elderly people by carrying out necessary repair and renovation work on their homes and offering them personalized support to reduce their anxiety and encourage their spiritual growth.

  16. El Salvador, San Miguel: Entrepreneurs of charity” – 146 beneficiaries – Developing an existing workshop for the production of paper bags and ‘Huevos Chimbos’ (an egg-based dish) and creating a space for bread making in order to finance 3 shelters through the sale of the products made. Generate a source of income for 6 single mothers, provide bread for the beneficiaries and offer elderly people a productive activity.

  17. Ecuador, Chone: “The ‘Leopoldina Rodriguez Garcia’ canteen” – 53 beneficiaries – Improving the living conditions of elderly people by offering them quality food aid, healthcare, mobility assistance and various social, cultural and manual activities.

  18. Haiti, Port-au-Prince: Food aid to vulnerable elderly people facing COVID-19” – 75 beneficiaries – Improving the living conditions of elderly people who wander the streets by providing them with monthly food aid based on local products, offering them spiritual and physical support and finding them a place to shelter.

  19. Mexico, La Piedad: Soap making” – 15 beneficiaries – Providing older women with training in soap making and marketing and to raise awareness of the importance of hygiene. They will then receive the necessary equipment to be able to make soap for their personal use or to sell it as part of an income-generating activity.

  20. Mexico, San Luis Potosi: I am responsible for my rose” – 30 beneficiaries – Offering physical, emotional and recreational therapy by giving beneficiaries the responsibility of taking care of a rose in their garden and by offering them different activities related to this project (reading, exchanges, gardening, drawing, photography).

  21. Paraguay, Carapeguá: A better life in old age” – 15 beneficiaries – Improving the lives of abandoned older people by providing them with physical, economic and spiritual support and responding to their most urgent needs.

  22. Venezuela, Valencia: The people are starving – SV” – 148 beneficiaries – Providing a varied breakfast to undernourished families. During these breakfasts, the volunteers will identify the heads of unemployed families to put them in contact with local companies that could hire them.

ASIA

  1. Cambodia, Takeo: “Capacity building to allow elderly people to live sustainably and rehabilitation of mentally ill villagers” – 135 beneficiaries – Improving the quality of life of the villagers by training them in gardening and small animal husbandry, while providing them with psychological support during home visits.

EUROPE and the MIDDLE EAST

  1. France, Strasbourg: Life on earth is in our hands” – 80 beneficiary families – Contributing to the development of a way of life that is more respectful of the environment and ecology in general by offering product manufacturing workshops (washing powder, fabric softeners, eco-friendly sponges, make-up remover products) and training courses on food hygiene and personal hygiene.

  2. Italy, Ceva: A language for growing up” – 5 beneficiaries – Promoting the social integration of young people from immigrant families who need to assimilate into a new social fabric by offering them courses that will enable them to acquire basic knowledge of the Italian language.

  3. Italy, Naples: Seeds of hope” – 10 beneficiaries – Offering professional training in gardening to ex-prisoners in order to facilitate their reintegration into the labour market, promote their financial independence and that of their families and enable them to regain ethical and social values.

  4. Italy, Rome: We sew our dreams, becoming self-sufficient through work” – 3 beneficiaries – Providing mothers with online training in sewing and then giving them the necessary support to start an income-generating activity, including the provision of a sewing machine.

  5. Italy, Rome: A home to study” – Providing 35 children with good learning conditions by giving them access to a flat equipped with computers and offering them targeted tutoring. Close cooperation with teachers and parents is planned.

  6. Lebanon: “Support for the schooling of disadvantaged pupils to prevent them from dropping out of school” – 40 beneficiaries – Providing computers to enable 20 young people to follow distance learning classes and payment of tuition fees and/or school supplies for 40 young people. Young people in need receive tutoring, psychological support, medical follow-up, hot meals and the opportunity to participate in recreational and leisure activities.

  7. Ukraine, Kharkov: Prevention of COVID-19 and support for people living in poverty” – 60 beneficiaries – Supporting elderly people with COVID-19 and preventing the spread of the virus among them, by having regular contact by telephone, providing them with medication and masks and offering them spiritual guidance. Support is also offered to children to enable them to continue their education and social activities despite the lockdown.

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