These are unprecedented times. Never could we have imagined that so much could change, so quickly. The reality we faced just a few short weeks ago as the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) began to spread across countries has been drastically altered for the foreseeable future, with the largest global health crisis in 100 years.
WE is responding to two urgent needs: at-home, the education and mental health of young people who are out of school; and globally, the medical needs of vulnerable people in the developing countries where WE provides global health programming and international development.
WE operates hospitals, medical clinics, mobile medical clinics and public health outreach systems serving over one million beneficiaries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and leading epidemiologists agree that the most significant medical crisis from the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) will manifest in developing countries with weak public health systems. Tragically medical systems in Sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia, and Latin America are woefully underequipped. Good nutrition, food security and health support have never been more important.
WE is taking a three-pronged approach to supporting the communities where we work. In Kenya we’re working with partners, including Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières). WE is providing hospital resources, including Baraka Hospital, along with additional nurses and medical staff from WE College, tents for patients and trucks for transport. MSF will provide medical expertise for pandemic coordination.
Public Health and Prevention Education: WE is providing a mass public health and awareness campaign about COVID-19 in the developing communities where WE works, including information on preventative health measures like hand-washing and physical distancing.
Build the physical health capacity of individuals through promoting healthy habits and providing support and medical intervention to those who are the most vulnerable, especially pregnant women, people who are chronically ill, including HIV-positive, to improve their ability to withstand the virus.
Medical Supplies and Equipment for Hospitals. WE is shipping containers of medical supplies and equipment to its medical projects and affiliate partners, as well as ensuring sufficient resources to assist communities in their recovery.
WE has the largest network of youth in North America, with 18,000 schools serving five million students, as well as reaching four million youth on social media. As a new reality unfolds with school closures and the need for physical distancing, we have been inundated with requests from schoolboards, educators, families and partners looking for opportunities for youth to connect and engage virtually, continue their learning, and receive support for their positive mental well-being during these trying times.
We hope youth, educators and their families will enjoy these free resources:
In collaboration with leading mental health experts, we are curating and adapting the most relevant WE Well-being resources to support during these challenging times. They are designed to equip youth, families and partners with tools to support well-being to curb anxiety, build resiliency, and practice self-care.
This resource is available for free download from our website. We are updating the guide to account for the COVID 19 new realities we face. While the core science and tactics in the Playbook are as relevant as ever, we want to ensure we are updating specific sections to include tips for creating a sense of community and belonging during a time of isolation.