On 8th April 2020, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) combined forces to support Government initiatives in the fight against the Covid-19 outbreak in Tanzania. Collectively the CSOs raised over TZS79 million. The funds were handed over to the National Relief Fund through the Prime Minister’s Office.
The CSOs that contributed the funds are Foundation for Civil Society (FCS), Legal Services Facility, (LSF), Women Fund Tanzania Trust, Save the Children, African Philanthropy Network (APN), Wajibu Institute, Twaweza, Tanzania Women Lawyers Association (TAWLA) and Children’s Dignity Forum. This was a show of solidarity from the various CSOs, demonstrating that they too can come together to respond to the crisis that has hit the country.
The outbreak of Coronavirus has introduced new social, economic, health challenges as surging anxiety among citizens globally is high.
During the short ceremony to hand over the cheque, the FCS President, Dr. Stigmata Tenga, said, “The outbreak of the coronavirus globally and in Tanzania has introduced new challenges to the Government and the citizens. CSOs recognize efforts being taken by the Government to control the spread of the disease as well as other initiatives to mitigate the negative impacts of the pandemic. We as CSOs felt a need to support the Government in its efforts. We recognize that due to the virus, many marginalized groups such as people with disabilities, women, the elderly, and our citizens in rural areas need even more information on the virus and how they can prevent the spread. Our hope is that the funds will also assist in reaching the marginalized groups.’’
In relation to plans to support awareness initiatives, she said, “CSOs work closely and engage citizen especially at grassroots level during project implementation. We are further planning to work closely with our grantees at this level to ensure that the Tanzanian citizen and marginalized groups are well informed about the preventive measures to take against the coronavirus.’’
“As the World Health Organization (WHO) advocates, solidarity is the only way to overcome the pandemic. We as CSOs believe that this is the right time to join hands with the Government in the fight against coronavirus. I am pleased to say that 10 CSOs have collectively contributed TZS79 million to help Tanzanians in their fight against the spread of the virus,’’ she said
FCS Business Development and Partnerships Manager, Ms. Nasim Losai said, “We have taken various preventative measures as an organization to ensure that our staff, partners, grantees are informed on the disease. The measures include reduced face-to-face meetings, sessions of workshops, and training. The new mode of communication is the increased use of online platforms.
“At the same time, we are practicing social distancing; and most importantly, we encourage frequent washing of hands with running water soap. At our premises, we have installed hand sanitizers for everyone who enters the premises. We are in frequent communication with our grantees to see how they are coping as well as offering support to them.’’
She further noted that the FCS will allow its grantees to come up with their own innovations with which to implement their projects in 2020, and these would be given due consideration by the organization.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30th January 2020. More than 100 countries have been hit with the virus and measures are being taken to contain the virus, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing, and prevention of the onward spread of Covid-19.