small foundation with a big impact

Happy Watoto – COVID-19 update

07-05-2020
The incidence of COVID-19 has been steadily increasing in Tanzania in recent weeks (number of confirmed cases = 480; number of deaths = 17), and has had a significant impact on the level of economic and social activity. However, the country is not under a complete lock-down, and the health system is not currently under excessive strain. Tourism has been heavily impacted, many small businesses have significantly lower activity levels, and many employees are at home with their families, many with reduced or no income.

The government in Arusha has urged people to wear facemasks and wash hands. In Tanzania it is not allowed to publicly express views about the COVID-19 policy of the government since this would encourage fake news. As well as keeping a close eye on the health and welfare of the children and our staff, we are also monitoring the families of the children and the communities in the neighbourhood of Ngorika and Kikatiti. We are doing this in case the reduction in economic activity severely affects their ability to afford food, sanitation products and other essentials, and we might be in a position to support them. For now, thankfully, this is not necessary.

The situation for Happy Watoto is currently stable. There are no reports of COVID-19 amongst our children, their families or our staff. Almost half of the children have been brought back to Kikatiti and Ngorika, to ensure they get properly cared for. All staff and children are being educated in COVID-19, being encouraged to keep their hygiene high, and socially distance where possible. The rest of the children, who are currently with their families or close relatives, are being supplied with basic needs like food, cleaning items and health insurance cards, and being closely monitored by our social services team. Our local neighbours at Kikatiti and Ngorika are affected economically and socially; however, there is no report of anyone who has contracted COVID-19. Households are busy working on their home farms and trying to earn money where possible, albeit at a lower rate, during this period.

In conclusion, while COVID-19 has no doubt impacted Happy Watoto, the children are happy and healthy, and the situation is currently under control. We are, however, not taking this for granted and will keep actively monitoring the status, as well as keeping you updated.
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