COVID-19 has placed unprecedented global pressure on essential health supplies, putting the most vulnerable at risk of ‘missing out’. In Sudan, this means hundreds of thousands in Khartoum’s poorest urban area, Mayo, and similar locations. Facing a national outbreak, the Government, UN agencies, NGOs and civil society have mobilized. Purchasing and distributing health and hygiene supplies, sharing information with community members, and protecting at-risk groups are just some of the ways UNDP and other organizations are assisting.
But the task is significant, health supplies are running low, and new solutions are required.
For two years the Italian Development Cooperation has supported UNDP-provided job training for vulnerable women and youth in Mayo through the project “Community Security and Stabilization Programme” (C2SP), creating alternatives for those potentially forced into conflict or crime. Soapmaking has been a popular and lucrative option for trainees, and one suddenly in high demand.
Adapting existing projects to COVID-19 response, Italian funding enabled UNDP to commission 18 soap makers in Mayo to rapidly and COVID-19-safely produce 5,500 bottles of liquid handwash (enough for 33,000 people) - and to purchase 1,500 bottles of additional stock.
Then, in partnership with local taxi company Go Cars, community networks, NGOs and advocates, the supplies were distributed – safely – to those most in-need in Khartoum State.
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