SERVE Statement on Covid-19

SERVE believes in volunteering that is responsible and responsive to the needs of our overseas partners. Our approach is grounded in the principal of solidarity and adheres to the value base of the Comhlámh Code of Good Practice. SERVE believes that the responsible action is to postpone unnecessary travel and international overseas volunteering placements until such a time that the impact of Covid-19 can be more clearly assessed. In the current circumstances, a decision has been made to not proceed with the SERVE 2020 Volunteer and Immersion Programmes.

We work with marginalised and vulnerable communities who live in basic conditions, often with limited access to healthcare and adequate sanitation. The risks posed by Covid-19 to these communities is significant. It is our view, that a balanced ethical consideration compels us not to put vulnerable people at risk by continuing to send volunteers who may be carriers of the virus.

It is better to take proactive steps now, rather than to later regret inaction. We will explore creative ways to continue to support our partners communities over the coming months.

Yours in Solidarity,

The SERVE Board and Team

Partners: Click image above for helpful links and resources including manuals, social media graphics and posters.

SERVE continue to liaise with our partners to determine their status during the Covid-19 pandemic. We will continue to update this page as information becomes available.

Tsholofelo Community Development, South Africa

The government of Mozambique requires travellers from all countries with active transmission to self-isolate on arrival for 14 days. The government has suspended the issuing of entry visas and banned gatherings of more than 50 people. The government has suspended the issuing of entry visas and banned gatherings of more than 50 people.

Young Africa Centres

For recent updates from SERVE’s partner Young Africa, read their newsletter here.

  • All centres have now reopened having been closed since March.

  • Young Africa Mozambique running soup kitchen for students and community who can no longer work due to COVID-19. Daily some 300 people receive a nutritious meal.
  • YA Mozambique also produced face masks for the community

  • Botswana – In Botswana, Young Africa delivered their entrepreneurship courses through local radio station Yarona FM when they had to close the Skills and Youth Centre due to COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Zambia –  Running soup kitchen for community

Mavambo Trust, Zimbabwe

SERVE secured  €10,000 from Misean Cara for Mavambo Trust’s COVID-19 response.

Mavambo Trust provide access to education for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) and provide holistic psycho-social support for OVC and their caregivers to help them remain in school

  • The funds secured will support preventative education actions to increase awareness of the COVID-19 pandemic in the communities of Mabvuku, Tafara and Goromonzi on the outskirts of Harare. Mavambo will liaise closely with the Ministry of Health if suspected cases arise.
  • The project will be delivered through a community based response, led by community volunteers. Mavambo can access households that the Ministry of Health and other NGOs cannot which allows for those who are most vulnerable to access information.
  • Mavambo can reach 1,200 children and caregivers who are part of their current programmes and can also reach new people in the communities
  • The intervention to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will be achieved through the following activities which can be started immediately and are expected to run for 3 months:
  1. Awareness raising about COVID-19 in the target communities of Mabvuku, Tafara and Goromonzi;
  2. Advocacy work to challenge mis-truths, fake news and dangerous practices which increase the communities risk to COVID-19;
  3. Purchase and disbursement of basic Personal Protective Equipment support for Mavambo’s beneficiaries, community volunteers and staff. This includes buckets, facemasks, latex gloves, hand washing liquid, sanitisers, detergents, sanitiser dispensers and mutton cloth;
  4. Ongoing trainings (virtual) with community volunteers and staff so they can carry out their work safely and effectively;
  5. Development, adoption, adaption and dissemination of Information Education and Communication material to support awareness raising and advocacy work
  6. Liaising with Ministry of Health if suspected cases are found

On 24 March, Prime Minister Modi announced a three week lockdown across India that requires everyone to stay at home from midnight on 25 March for 21 days. Strict restrictions on movement are in now in place unless for an essential purpose.

Association of People with Disabilities (APD), India

  • The COVID-19 outbreak started with 957 cases in April, and climbed to 250,000 by August 2020.
  • Millions of jobs were lost particularly among vulnerable and marginalised communities.
  • APD continued to support their students and families by hosting online learning, including webinars and parent/teacher meetings
  • In response to COVID-19 our partner APD raised 4.98 million rupees and provided Humanitarian support to;
  1. Distribute Survival Kits to 1800 children with special needs and 4445 families of people living with disabilities.
  2. Launched an awareness raising campaign including sign language videos for students and family members.
  3. Supported government agencies, frontline workers battling COVID-19 in the implementation of Government Guidelines and Action Plans at local level.

Badjao Nano Nagle Early Learning Centre

  • Read the latest Badjao Newsletter here (October 2019 – September 2020)
  • School closed in early March due to lockdown. The Badjao Nano Nagle Team are hoping to reopen the school in October 2020.
  • SERVE has allocated €7,500 towards the purchase and distribution of emergency food supplies for the Badjao tribe. Each household received 10 kilos of rice, 8 canned goods, 1 kilo sugar and 1 pack coffee.The Badjao youth leaders and cluster leaders helped to facilitate the distribution keeping the social distancing.

  • Each of the Badjao family has since received 5 kilos of rice and 2 canned goods from the government. There is a non government agency  in the area who is planning to distribute food supplies on April 25.
  • SERVE has been working closely with Badjao Teachers and Youth Council to translate ‘7 Steps of Prevention’ graphics into Sinama (Badjao Language). This can be widely shared across the Badjao community social media platforms.

Redemptorist Community Cebu

  • Parish committee and Redemptorist Youth Ministry delivering food packages and shopping to those who are vulnerable

The Vietnamese authorities have introduced a large number of measures to limit the spread of the virus, including banning the entry of foreigners and the widespread quarantine of anyone who may have come in to contact with coronavirus. Vietnam has also closed tourist areas, non-essential shops and services (including bars and restaurants), particularly in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Centre for Sustainable Development Studies (CSDS)

  • Facilitating online learning. 9 SERVE volunteers supporting the Centre for Sustainable Development Studies through teaching English virtually. Please email fiachra@serve.ie if you would like to volunteer.