by Sara Gianesini, project coordinator in Guinea-Bissau
The coronavirus pandemic that shook the world has not spared even the poorest countries such as Guinea-Bissau and, following the measures taken to mitigate the spread of the virus and the entry into force of the state of emergency, all economic sectors were hit by the crisis.
The agricultural sector, dominated by the production and marketing of cashews, and that of small, mostly informal, income-generating economic activities, the main pillars of the local economy, were particularly affected. The fall in prices, the reduced possibility of marketing agricultural products, the closure of land borders, the ban on weekly fairs and markets, the internal restriction on the movement of goods and people are, among others, the fundamental factors of the crisis.
Mani Tese, as part of the project “Protection and durable solutions for refugees and asylum seekers in Guinea-Bissau” funded by UNHCR, as it has had to do in other interventions and other civil society organizations, public and parastatal institutions have done, had to carry out a revision of the work agenda which led to limitations of many activities that included face-to-face training and to the postponement of those initiatives that involved gathering people.
However, the organization has not remained insensitive to the difficulties encountered in the villages which, in addition to the pandemic, have also suffered heavy rains which have caused a lot of damage, aggravating an already terrible situation. The floods between July and September damaged many homes and destroyed wells, leaving residents of Cacheu communities without drinking water.
To address these difficulties, a process of financing community micro-projects has been launched to develop community social and economic activities, or groups of individuals in the intervention villages, and make the moment of crisis an opportunity for all.
All ideas of community socio-economic support follow a rigorous selection process, the main evaluation criteria of which are the vulnerability of the community, the relevance of the idea with respect to the specific context and its sustainability.
The pre-selection process for project ideas collected during the year was launched in September and six groups selected in October received training in community economic management to achieve the goal of minimizing the suffering caused by the coronavirus pandemic and from the torrential rains of this summer.
Among the ideas selected, three concern the reconstruction and repair of wells and water pumps in the community and two concern the purchase of machinery to facilitate the harvesting of rice and its processing. The subjects involved, as always, demonstrate their great interest in supporting everyone: the projects selected are in fact for the benefit of the whole community, because for them it is what counts.
Below, some photos of the formations that required limited attendance, social distancing and the use of the mask.