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CAMFED Tanzania - Coping with COVID - Fiona Mavhinga in conversation with Lydia Wilbard - Video Transcript

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Olivia Reeves, Senior Development Associate, CAMFED International I’m Olivia Reeves, Senior Development Associate at CAMFED International. And it’s my pleasure to welcome you to this webinar to share with you how the COVID-19 pandemic has been affecting rural communities across Africa. The measures that CAMFED is taking to respond and how our extensive alumni network, the CAMFED Association, is reaching the most vulnerable girls across rural communities and working with schools and government agencies to share information, ensure continuity of learning, and to support girls to be in a position to resume their studies.

A few brief housekeeping items first. We’ll be recording today’s conversation and sharing the video afterwards. So, if you need to drop out of the call for any reason, you can watch it later on. You’ll see that you’ve joined in listen only mode. So, if you’re having a hard time hearing the speakers, please make sure you put your volume turned all the way up. We do have a Q&A session planned during this conversation, so please submit any questions using the Q&A button at the bottom of the zoom window and we’ll answer them then.

CAMFED’s mission of fighting inequality is what drives and sustains our teams internationally every day. While we’ll be focusing today on our core work of addressing the inequalities that girls and young women face in rural Africa to secure an education and then an adulthood marked by independent leadership and influence, we stand in solidarity and support for those fighting injustice everywhere, including at this moment in the US.

We have a number of colleagues on the call from the UK and the US, including Stacey Fraioli, Senior Donor Relations Manager, Emily Zemke Director of Development, and Brooke Hutchinson, Executive Director of the CAMFED USA Foundation. And I am delighted to be joined today by Lydia Wilbard, CAMFED Tanzania’s National Director, Nasikiwa Duke Mwalisu, Head of Programs, and Fiona Mavhinga, Executive Advisor to the CAMFED Association.

Lydia’s life experience resonates strongly with that of the young women reached by CAMFED’s programs, completing her secondary education against personal odds, Lydia ran several successful businesses to fund her high school and university education. As a founding member of the CAMFED Association in 2005, she became an active business leader and mentor and went on to gain a master’s in public health at Johns Hopkins University in the US before rejoining CAMFED and has been directing our programs in Tanzania since 2012.

Nasikiwa Duke Mwalisu joined CAMFED nine years ago and has a background in banking, finance and accounting and works extensively with our CAMFED Association members. And leading today’s conversation is Fiona Mavhinga. Fiona was one of the first young women who completed her education with CAMFED support. A lawyer by training, she leads on the strategic development of the CAMFED Association, the association that she helped found. So, Fiona, I’ll hand it over to you now.

 

Fiona Mavhinga, Executive Advisor, CAMFED Association Thank you very much, Olivia, for that. Let me add my thanks as well for everyone who joins us today. As Olivia mentioned, we will be hearing from members of our team in Tanzania as they share stories about how COVID-19 is affecting CAMFED’s work in their country. First, from a perspective of supporting girls through education, and secondly, to highlight the activism of our young women in the CAMFED Association, the CAMFED alumnae network.

Most of you will be aware that we as CAMFED have a very strong post-school engagement for girls who graduate through our support in terms of supporting their transition and more importantly, supporting their activism and leadership in their communities. We have 157,005 young women as members of the CAMFED association, so we’ll be hearing about their experiences and how they are responding to the crisis.

But first we will connect with Lydia, CAMFED Tanzania’s National Director. Lydia, can you tell us a bit about how COVID-19 pandemic is unfolding in Tanzania, what it has meant for CAMFED’s work in particular, given CAMFED’s focus on supporting girls in rural communities? How can we continue to reach the girls we support in these challenging circumstances?

 

Lydia Wilbard, National Director, CAMFED Tanzania Thank you very much, Fiona, and everyone who has managed to join us. It’s a privilege, really, to have an opportunity to share experiences from Tanzania with you all. So COVID-19 kicked off in Tanzania on the 16th of march, that’s when the first case was announced and immediately the schools were closed from 17th of March. And like Fiona pointed out, our work in schools was disrupted completely. There was frustrations and uncertainties just like across the globe.

So fortunately, CAMFED as an NGO is part of the network, education network, that is locally organized and we are Vice Chair of that network. So, through this network we are able to communicate with the government directly. The Minister of Education Science and Technology, but you also the implementing ministry, which is the presidents of this region, administration and government. So, we had an opportunity to be able to be part of the taskforce under the ministry in drafting and inputting into the response plan by the ministry after the schools closed.

So, one of the issues that came up is how are we going to respond immediately, short term, but also longer term, knowing the impact that will be brought by the closure of the school. So, from that plan then we were able, as CAMFED, as an organization, to be able to draw from the guidelines and the direction so that we are able to also support the government in supporting our girls while they’re at school.

So, one of the key priorities was to make sure that these girls, as they come back and stay home, they are safe. And for them to be safe, they also had to get clear information and proper information. And most importantly, that this information is correct around how they are keeping safe, how they are going to be taking into consideration the guidance that is provided by the Ministry of Health, but also the W.H.O (World Health Organization). Knowing that these are the stakeholders we work with, they are more peripheral, and they are mostly marginalized at the risk of getting wrong information and wrong perception about the new disease.

So, we proactively used our local network. That’s where the beauty of the model kicked in because we are able to connect from the national level to the grassroots where we have schools, we have teachers, we have our young women alumnae, and through them we are able to reach individual girls in their homes. So, we are able to compare the information that is coming through media, social media and on TV, on the news from the Ministry of Education, but also Ministry of Health and those from W.H.O., to make sure that this information is packaged in a way that those girls at homes in their communities are able to understand.

So, the issue of wash, making sure that they understand how to wash your hands correctly, which kind of soap they have to use, they use of sanitizer and the other locally available precautions that they had to to take care of. But the beauty of us is that we have those young women with lived experience within the same community who can not only deliver the materials, but they can also be able to translate the materials for the local people to understand in a language that they understand as community members. So that was our priority.

And the other thing then we looked at making sure that we keep in touch. No one knew when we were going to resume this school until today, we do not have the exact date when the O-level students will be coming back. So, we wanted to make sure that we have a systematic way of keeping touch, knowing the welfare and the way of individual girls without generalizing now that they are at home, we understand some of the care that they would receive from school, from the teacher mentors that work with, they will now not have them.

And the majority of the girls we supported, they are often, some of them, they are living with all their parents, but also some of them are orphans. So, we put a system that will utilize the stakeholders to be able to to reach out to them. So, we designed a tracking tool that we uploaded in our mobile phones, and we supported stakeholders to be able to use that tool together.

So there was a massive mapping, mapping of where girls are, who they are staying with, and who can be reached on phone whether the guardians have a phone number, or the parents have a phone number or a neighbor have a phone number, and those who found out to be not having phone number, then we were able to come up with this strategy on how there can be a 1 to 1 discussion, of course observing the social distances and guidelines.

It was beautiful that we have this and the champion, the so-called education champion, and the stakeholders that we are working with, they are composed of District Officials and teachers. So, they used the opportunity to also be able to get in touch with their own children and their own students that they are supporting. So, it was great that we are tracking, we were able to track 9963 students. We started mid-June, mid-May and up to date we have been able to receive feedback from 1777 children. But we aim by end of June to have reached everyone.

But the beauty of this tracking is not similar to the surveys and the research that is going on across. I understand that there is different people trying to do research and collect data, but the difference that sets us out as CAMFED is what we do with the data when we work on the data. So, the system that we are using to track the girls, we are able to get the data on time.

For example, if there is a struggling girl at home, if there is the danger of getting married off, if there is, you know, the issues related to child labor, the girl is not having time to be able to study. Then we are able to pick that up with the local officials, the district education officer, the teacher mentors, the head of the school. We are able to deal with the issue as they come, as they come. So even the stakeholders that we are gathering the data from, they are cooperative, and they are happy, they say it’s us different that, you know, it’s not about collecting the information about me, but it’s very important what you do with the information and the understanding that you get from it.

So, I just wanted to highlight that this tracking has been very useful, not only to support the girls who are struggling with the relevant support that they need now, but also to be able to gather some feedback that we share at the national level when we input into the task force and the intervention that is going on, but also for us to help us be able to respond appropriately. And so, from that information, we are able to understand the girls who are struggling with the connectivity.

For example, we have 215 girls who are in high school who are supposed to sit an exam on 5th of May. But those exams were postponed because of the pandemic and the government were proactive to create online material on TV, delivering materials on TV stations, on radio. But we wanted to make sure that these girls that we support, knowing their background, they too can also access that.

So, we did a map up to understand who has opportunity to access their stations, but those who cannot to be able to. So, we realized that only 65% of the girls that we are supporting, they are able to watch TV, they have access, and they are going to be able to follow the stations. And then we are able to strategize on what we do for the rest of the girls who do not have this access. And we had applied local opportunities, available opportunities to be able to support them.

For example, in Rufiji, we worked with one of the high schools which is closer to the girls. We arranged with the head of the school through our stakeholders to be able to support the girls, to borrow some books and some exercise books so that they can learn at home. This would not have been possible if we didn’t know who is struggling, but also if we don’t have the means to be able to reach them.

And because of the guidelines that the restrictions of movement, for example, you can’t move from Dar Es Salaam to Rufiji, but because we have a network locally available who we understand in understanding the struggles that the girls have, then they were able to support that. So, we maintained that connectivity to make sure that we support the appropriately on learning but also on the safety.

The other thing that we did is to make sure that we maintain our life skills. Understanding that life skills is very important at this critical point in time, not only to elders, to all the people, but also to the children. There’s a lot of uncertainties, there is a lot of worries. So, we were able to organize to continue delivering our My Better World program. This is the life skills and wellbeing curriculum that continues encouraging and helping girls to be able to be resilient through this difficult time.

So, we organized, we partnered with some community radios. We were able to have our young women come to the radio alongside health professionals and social welfare to be able to talk about, you know, how can I stay home, stay safe, stay engaged and be resilient to be able to come back, especially when the schools open. I know Nasikiwa is going to deep dive into some of the examples, but this is generally what we have been able to respond.

And now that the schools have opened, the schools opened on June 1st, actually, yesterday was our first day of opening, but this is specifically for only form six the girls who are at A-level [inaudible] for their exam. And the other opening is for tertiary. These are universities and colleges. So, we have girls that we are supporting through these classes. We are proactively using our support group to catch up to see who has reported.

I am seeing actually the leaders of the chapters at the universities asking, oh, who have reported, can you raise your hand through WhatsApp. And the leader is actually proactively calling the girls to see whether they have reported whether they have issues. And for us, we are standing by to be able to support those who are struggling, for example, some girls might not be able to report on time because of their bus fare or their issues that they are struggling with. So, we are kind of tailoring our program to respond according to how the issues are coming up. Fiona, I end there. And maybe there are questions.

 

Fiona Mavhinga, Executive Advisor, CAMFED Association Thank you very much, Lydia. Thank you for those highlights. Perhaps just to mention a few among the very important one that you mentioned, the importance of child protection during this particular time and how we are drawing on our partnerships at community level to ensure that we keep children safe. How we are ensuring that at the start of the pandemic we were channeling correct information to remote rural communities and ensuring that our young women were ready to support awareness raising in the communities, support preventative measures such as handwashing and the importance of masks and social distancing.

And I really liked the point that you mentioned about, you know, data collection and ensuring that these data collection is not just extractive, but we are using it to tailor the responses that we need to give to the marginalized children and respond to their needs urgently and ensure that we also pass on that information to stakeholders that we work with in government. The highlight on the plight of children in remote rural communities in terms of access to remote learning during this period to ensure that, you know, they continue learning as schools were closed. And when schools open, they can pick up without having lost much.

So, thank you very much for those highlights, Lydia. So, moving forward now, as we mentioned before, we will also hear about how members of the CAMFED Association have been coping and responding to the crisis in Tanzania. Our CAMFED alumnae network has over 26,376 young women, and I would like to invite Nasikiwa now to come and share what she’s been hearing from members of the CAMFED Association in Tanzania. Nasikiwa, what are some of the few experiences you’ve been hearing from them?

 

Nasikiwa Duke Mwalisu, Head of Programs, CAMFED Tanzania Yeah, so some of the stories that we have been hearing coming from CAMA members and I just want to emphasize that the young women CAMA members…

 

Fiona Mavhinga, Executive Advisor, CAMFED Association Perhaps I can drop Lydia back in to just share a few examples from the stories that members of the CAMFED Association in Tanzania have been sharing around how the crisis affected them and how they have been responding to them. Lydia, perhaps just a few examples. Thank you.

 

Lydia Wilbard, National Director, CAMFED Tanzania Sure, Fiona. Yeah. So, there are several examples that are coming in. CAMA members, the girls that are alumna of CAMFED have been able to take part as community members and also stepping up as sisters and educators. So, one example is from Pangani. Pangani is one of the coasts within the coast region, a group of CAMA members who are doing some business, like making soap and selling soap, but also those who are championing your health, who are able to join in the campaign.

The Pangani District wanted to make sure that they run a live campaign in terms of making sure that everyone within the community understand it, understands the use of soap and also the washing. So, the young women in Pangani joined that campaign. So, they are working hand-in-hand with the district medical officer, going in public spaces, explaining and demonstrating how their washing is very important.

You know, sometimes people are not getting it. This is the washing that we are talking about the pandemic and how is this washing really helping us to be able to stay safe? So, the district medical officer wanted to make sure that is making this a public and understood.

And the good thing is that the CAMA members, they are some of those who are making business on soap. So, they were able to kind of demonstrate. But also make available those soap that were highly needed all of the sudden in shops, the soaps went up and it was sometimes not easy to get in rural areas. So, CAMFED proactively supported CAMA members so that they can expand and make soap and make it available.

The other example is in Bagamoyo. These are all coastal regions. So, in Bagamoyo, the young women, one of the young women called Eva, she’s doing business and she is actually employing some of the young women that were supported through school by CAMFED. And so, she saw the business were going down. For example, she has a clothing shop. It was really the same going down. People are not moving. They were not coming to buy. And she decided that she is actually going to get into the printing of the papers to make sure that the stationery business is working.

So, because she is a Learner Guide, she is connected with the teachers, teachers proactively also were looking at how they can continue supporting their students. So, they had WhatsApp groups where they were kind of doing notes and questions. They were posting on WhatsApp, and they were directing parents who are able to come to stationery so that they can make a printout. So, Eva immediately took up that business and she understood that some of the parents are afraid of moving. So, she took all the precautions, she would put on masks, she would have sanitizer, and she would move in villages, house to house first to make sure that the notes that the teachers have produced, they are available.

But apparently, she realized that their houses, a lot of children are not able to afford in terms of cost. So, she decided that since she is able to make an income and many of the parents and children were struggling, she decided that she is going to give some percentage of the notes for free. So, she would share some WhatsApp group to, you know, that is a platform where young women who are sharing on what they are doing. So, she was able to share some of these pictures where she is actually not only delivering the notes, but also, she is collaborating with the other group of young women within the same district who are doing tailoring.

And they were sewing the mask and they are giving it for free. So, she would say, “Hey, I’m actually finding some of the children are struggling, I am giving them notes, but most of them, the families, they are talking about mask, but they are not able to afford and actually some of them will not be able to access it.” So, we have different young women who worked as a group to support learning, continuing learning. But also, we have young women who work to support masks.

In the community, for example, they went to the district, the official, the district education director who appreciated their support because this they delivered, they were able to donate 200 masks, that the district were able to share with those who cannot afford. So around mid-April the spike of the cases were high and the government announced that no one is allowed to go anywhere. If you want to go to hospital, if you wanted to go to public spaces, you have to wear a mask.

Apparently, masks were scarce and so the tailoring group were able to support that, but one example that I have seen today actually, we continue to see in case study that is interesting. This is the girl in a family where when the schools were closed, they were taken to the farm. So hot weather with their whole family there staying very far in the farm. They are like kind of, you know, when you are growing and then you stay in the farm so that you can protect it from wild animals.

So that way she’s very far, not connected, she doesn’t know even, you know, when the school opened, she doesn’t have any access. So, through our parent support group, actually, one of the leaders decided that in the tracking system, the girls were not reachable. He decided that he’s going to visit the girls’ farm. And he went there, he met the family, he talked to the girl. You’ll be surprised how this girl was appreciative. And you also felt that like being taken care of.

But she was reassured that whenever the school is open, this person who come back and tell her that the school is due, but most importantly, he was able to come back and get some books from the nearby secondary school for her to continue learning even at a distance when they are at farms. So and also these young women they are taking in the tracking and therefore they are able to kind of take issues and deal with them. So, Fiona, those are some of the examples that we have seen CAMA members stepping up and [inaudible] initiative.

 

Fiona Mavhinga, Executive Advisor, CAMFED Association Great. Thank you very much. Thank you very much, Lydia, for stepping in. And I think Nasikiwa has been able to deal with the technical issue that arose, and she is back, but perhaps Nasikiwa it would help maybe for you to just talk on audio if the connection is not good enough for video. And before I bring you back in, I want to also remind those that are on this platform that if you have any questions that you would like to ask us, Lydia and Nasikiwa and other members of the CAMFED team, please do so in the Q&A window, and we will pick those up later.

If I can bring back Nasikiwa. Nasikiwa, just briefly, since we have had a good number of examples from Lydia about what CAMA members are doing, do you want to add just a couple of more points in terms of how members of the CAMFED Association are using their intimate understanding of the challenges that communities and children face this time to respond to the crisis, Nasikiwa.

 

Nasikiwa Duke Mwalisu, Head of Programs, CAMFED Tanzania Yes. Fiona, can you hear me now? I hope so. Thank you. Yeah. So as Lydia has shared and also the young women are also understanding that at these times of COVID-19, one of the challenges is supporting households with food. Food has become very scarce, but also for families that are engaged, or small businesses are having difficulties because businesses are also shutting down like the small restaurants or people who are selling food of any sort are also shutting down.

And people who are doing tailoring, people are not paying priority on dressing anymore. People are paying priority on saving money for food and knowing how they can survive through these conditions. So, you would find that in that kind of situation, you see the young women situation, it becomes even more riskier.

And I have a young woman from Kilosa, her name is Mary, Mary, she was previously supported by CAMFED through school. And now she has a small tailoring business that she does in her community. And she understood that doing the tailoring business that she was doing for so long, it’s not going to pay any more because people are no longer interested in fashion and style. People are interested in food and health cares and stuff like that.

But again, there are young people in the community who had nothing to do, and the situation was becoming even detrimental. So, Mary, what she did, she took two or three girls from her community and she said, are you interested to learn tailoring? Because through these tailoring you can earn money, you can come work in my shop together, we can make the face masks together, we can sell them together. And you can earn some money to support food in your family and take care of yourself. And together, we can still continue helping the community members massively.

And so, the girls started with three girls, now they have five girls and all of them are working in Mary’s shop. They are making the face masks together. At the end of the day, they go together in the markets, and they sell. And some of them they will donate to the families in their villages whom they know they can’t afford the face masks. You will be surprised. One surgical face mask cost $1.40, while the face mask that they are making locally costs only $0.20 USD.

So, it’s a face mask that still provides addressing even the children within those households that cannot grow up and not be able to to protect themselves and still creating income for those who are working with Mary in her shop to create those and to sew those face masks and to be able to sell. I know we are running out of time, but that is what I could share in terms of business and how CAMA members are turning it around to create jobs and support others. Thank you, Fiona.

 

Fiona Mavhinga, Executive Advisor, CAMFED Association Thank you very much, Nasikiwa and sharing those amazing stories, amazing activism that’s happening in our communities as a result of educated young women members of the CAMFED Association. Let me now invite my colleagues to share a video of some CAMFED Association members in terms of how they have been responding to the crisis and sharing this in their own words. Thank you.

 

Pearl, Core Trainer, Ghana Despite the COVID-19, the session is very, very, very interactive because there’s a replica of the session that is done on radio and on WhatsApp. And so, we have learners also asking questions via WhatsApp and getting the learning facilitators to better explain the concepts or the models that they talk about.

 

Mary, Program Coordinator, Tanzania What we do now is making communication with the parents by calling them through phone, talking to the student directly, understanding the challenges that they face at the home and also connecting them with the important figure like social welfare who can solve the challenges when becoming bigger.

 

Fiona Mavhinga, Executive Advisor, CAMFED Association Thank you. So those are just a few examples out of the several other things that members of the CAMFED alumnae network are doing in their communities. I think we’ve seen how important this is in the context and in light of the challenges that the pandemic presented to our communities. I want to use this time to take questions. Now let’s see if we have any questions that have come up. It looks like the first question is going to go to Lydia. Lydia, the question that we have here for you is, what is your biggest worry and what do you see as the biggest urgency?

 

Lydia Wilbard, National Director, CAMFED Tanzania Thank you, Fiona. Yeah. The biggest worry now is the return, re-joining of the students back to school when the schools reopen. Looking at the experience that they are going through now and the families are going through. The girls, especially those who are from the marginalized community, are really at risk of not coming back to school, knowing that there are the needs of facilities, facilities to be able to come back.

So, I think our biggest priority now should be to understand the local and local driven initiatives and support, that they are holistic to be able to support them to come back. So, some of them will need learning material, they will need books, they will need the exercise books. They will need some uniforms. But most importantly, they will need protection.

Food, if food is a problem at home, it is very likely that they will be kept at home to continue looking for food for the family and some are at risk of any marriages because of the situations. So, I think for us as an organization and maybe the development community and the government should be to understand what are the local led initiatives that are holistic to be able to support them back.

 

Fiona Mavhinga, Executive Advisor, CAMFED Association Thank you very much, Lydia. Thank you. And we also have a second question that will be directed to you, again, Lydia. The question is, how can CAMFED offices continue to operate when working remotely? How have you been managing continuing work when you’re working remotely?

 

Lydia Wilbard, National Director, CAMFED Tanzania It has worked very well, actually, one of the positive things that COVID-19 is teaching us is to adapt and be adaptive and embrace technology. So, we had to get guideline immediately when the school closed, we had a guideline that guided us on how we can support our self and support our staff to be able to work remotely.

For example, we understand people are going to need data, people are going to need internet, people are going to need proper working tools. And therefore, we were able to put up guidelines that are connecting us like the way we are on Zoom. So, we have physical meetings translated into the online meetings and so far, it has worked very well. We have our standby IT.  Actually, I feel like we are connecting more than the way we were on physical, and the infrastructure is the most important thing.

The infrastructure that CAMFED has from the national level to the grassroots level. So, at every district we have district officers who are working closely with the schools. And while the schools are working closely with the students and we have the network of young women, CAMA, with the structure from the village level. So, we have village committees, we have ward committees, we have district level committees, and we have national level committees. This structure is functioning very well and some of them are supported with internet connection, but also some of them are supported with the actual mobile phone so that they can continue connecting.

So, for us, really, the work has not been interrupted except, you know, the frustrations and events and the uncertainties of the pandemic. But we have really continued our work and we have seen this infrastructure being very crucial to support during this pandemic.

 

Fiona Mavhinga, Executive Advisor, CAMFED Association Thank you very much, Lydia. Thank you. We also have another question that came in from participant on this conversation and the question, I think Lydia will be best placed to answer this one as well, in terms of the extent of COVID-19, many people getting ill. And she said that I have heard government is not being honest about the extent of the problem. How true is this?

 

Lydia Wilbard, National Director, CAMFED Tanzania Thank you, Fiona. Just to say, I won’t to be speaking on behalf of the government, but what I can say, is that the last thing that we received was dated the 29th of April. That’s when the government released their last information about the case. So, we are also not getting updated cases. And I agree that there is frustration among the public.

But all in all, we are guided by what the ministry is saying, like listening to when the school were announced it to start, the minister has shared a guideline to all the schools and all the colleges on how they are supposed to operate during this time of pandemic. So, some of the issues they are saying, they are maintaining the social distances, instructing all the schools to make sure that this social distance is adhered to, but also the issue of handwashing.

I have seen actually some pictures from the schools, people sharing how every school is responding, making sure that they have running water outside, making sure that every student is wearing face mask. But yeah, so we are following the guidelines from the ministry, and we are kind of hoping that the information will keep coming. So, I would say that is the situation. So, I wouldn’t have any reference to say many people are dying or many people are ill except from the final data that we have and the data that we had last time was 180 of the cases.

 

Fiona Mavhinga, Executive Advisor, CAMFED Association Thank you. Thank you, Lydia. I’m looking to see if we can squeeze in another question. So, we have another question. I think this one will be directed to Emily. It says, “What are the main risks facing CAMFED as a result of the pandemic? How does it affect your future plans?” Emily, would you like to take this question, please?

 

Emily Zemke, Director of Development, CAMFED International Thanks, Fiona, and thanks for the question. I think the risk we feel is that we won’t be able to honor the commitment we make to support girls for the duration of their education. And we always try to ensure continuity of our support rather than dipping in and out of her schooling. So, the majority of our funding comes from grants that are typically restricted and dependent on schools being open.

You know, there was a risk there that we wouldn’t have the flexibility to respond in the types of, you know, caring and creative ways that you’ve heard today. But we’ve worked really hard to nurture those relationships with our funding partners, and many have been willing to allow the sorts of flexibility we need over the next few months. So, the risk in that respect isn’t significant currently. And in the longer term, though, there are certainly risks.

We don’t want to be dependent on anyone funding source and expect some sources to contract quite significantly over the next couple of years, which is why we’re really working hard to diversify our income sources and to build the base of global philanthropists who are engaged in our work. This community is critical to our well-being as an organization, and we want to recognize the importance of that support with every one of our donors and share insights on the impact that they’re having as they enable the important work that colleagues like Lydia and Nasikiwa are describing today.

 

Fiona Mavhinga, Executive Advisor, CAMFED Association Thank you very much, Emily, for that response. And let me thank all of you who submitted questions well before this conversation and those that submitted questions during our conversation and made the conversation lively and thank our respondents Lydia, Nasikiwa, Emily. And let me bring in my colleague Stacey to help us conclude this conversation. Thank you.

 

Stacey Fraioli, Senior Donor Relations Manager, CAMFED USA Foundation Hi, my name is Stacey Fraioli. I’m Senior Donor Relations Manager in the United States. And it’s my pleasure just to thank you all once again for joining us today and to let you know that we will be sending out a recording of this webinar shortly. I’m sure that you will agree with me that as I listened to Fiona and Lydia and Nasikiwa today, I was moved and inspired by the stories that they shared.

I think it’s clear that our response to COVID is not a short-term relief effort. Rather, it’s part of our continued response to the needs of the girls and women that we support. As already mentioned, as schools begin to reopen in the countries in which we work, we remain focused on getting girls back into school so that they can learn and thrive and lead change.

Many thanks to all of you for your continued support of CAMFED, which makes this work possible. Thank you again for joining us today. And we at CAMFED hope that you and your loved ones stay safe and well, thanks.

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