As part of ongoing efforts to aid the government and its international partners in the fight against the deadly Corona virus pandemic in Liberia, NAYMOTE Partners for Democratic Development, a good governance and research institution, has started the disbursement of small grants to support community-based interventions to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at a brief ceremony marking the disbursement exercise in Monrovia, NAYMOTE's Executive Director, Eddie Jarwolo, told recipients of the small grant that the initiative was part of the organization's project called the (President's Meter Project).
Mr. Jarwolo also informed the gathering that while it is the true that the President Meter project was intended to track activities of President George M. Weah, it is also important to shift its activities into fighting the COVID_19, something he said is another way of buttressing government's effort in the fight against the pandemic.
The disbursement of the funds which accordingly targets 15 institutions including networks in Montserrado county has released a total of (L$465,845.00) in the first phase of the institution project dubbed: "Community Action Platform against COVID-19."
The small grant is a part of the One Million Liberian Dollars (L$1,000,000.00) promised by the institution on April 29, 2020, and was made available from a redirected budget line from the President Meter Project funded by the Open Society Initiative of West Africa.
The Community Action Platform against the COVID-19 project is expected to, directly and indirectly, reach over 500,000 people in Liberia.
The funds, Jarwolo indicated, will be used to create awareness on the importance of hand-washing, social distancing, wearing of face-masks, signs, and symptoms of COVID-19, encouraging citizens to adhere to the National Health Protocols, and why citizens should always call 4455 if they or someone in their community feels sick.
He clarified that of the 15 institutions, seven are youth-led organizations, four are from the District Development Councils (DDC), while three are from the women-led organization and one from Youth with Disabilities.
"The grants to institutions run from LS$20,000 to L$99,925.00 and selection was made from a total of 47 applications received so far, and the second payment is expected to be done on May 11, 2020, as applications are still being received."
At the same time, Mr. Jarwolo disclosed that the institution has hired 10 volunteers to carry out awareness using mobile phones and have offered LS$278,600.00 for the mobile awareness campaign to be conducted within 30 days.
He said the volunteers are expected to reach 6,000 people with accurate information approved by the Ministry of Health (MoH), National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), as well as the World Health Organization (WHO).
Jarwolo added that each volunteer is expected to call 20 persons a day for 30 days. Presently, the institution has a database of over 12,000 registered voters across the 15 counties that will be used to mobilize and educate thousands of Liberians about the COVID-19 using mobile phones.
Naymote also has a Liberia Decides Facebook Page with over 23k followers that will be used to share adequate information about the virus to reduce misinformation and fake news.
"This project is designed to increase grassroots response to the fight against COVID-19, and to enhance community engagements and ownership," said Jarwolo.
Mr. Jarwolo is optimistic that the approach is highly adaptive and supports community resilience. He said, the institution will use community organizing skills and social mobilization lessons learned from the Ebola crisis, his institution is prepared to ignite the same spirit and vigor to help save the lives of vulnerable populations in Liberia.
He used the occasion to call on the government and partners to support more community interventions as this is the best way to save lives and eradicate the people about COVID-19.
The institution is also calling on citizens across the country to join the fight by adhering to all preventive measures and stop the denial.