With COVID-19 spreading rapidly throughout the globe, it’s hard to fully depict (and even conceive of) the devastation this will inflict on refugee camps and sites—to those already living on the brink of civilization, who are largely forgotten and pushed aside, who have limited resources (food, water, health care, etc.), whose home country and government deal with recurring conflict, who have already dealt with immeasurable trauma. These are communities who for a long time have been on a journey of healing, empowering, and moving forward.
Amidst this, it is also important to recognize the commitment of these communities to create awareness and plans to protect themselves against COVID-19. During this time of stress, hardship, and moving toward the unknown, refugee-led community action is critical.
“Many of the refugees are making a collaborative effort to prepare for the impact of COVID-19.” – Refugee leader in Cameroon
As always, iACT refugee leaders have shown their dedication to empowering their communities. In the case of COVID-19, this means circulating accessible and culturally relevant documents regarding facts, precautions, and guidelines. Community leaders are also helping scale down the spread of misinformation (which can often be costly and dangerous), giving and answering survey questions to help US-based staff understand how the situation is unfolding (the NGO’s response, food and hygiene material accessibility, asking how they are feeling and what support they need, etc.), and listening to and guiding their community during this hard time.