4-H Clubs in Senegal make facemasks and sanitizers, help local communities during pandemic
When Senegal’s government put social distance measures in place, many professionals began working from home, start-up businesses halted their operations, and families lost income as a result of the spreading pandemic. Yet, for the USAID Youth in Agriculture project, these challenges provided an opportunity for youth to apply their positive development skills to helping their communities at a time when they need it the most.
Several 4-H clubs have collaborated to inform and protect citizens through fundraising, sewing masks, providing information to stop the spread of false rumors, and distributing sanitation goods throughout their communities.
According to the project’s National Director Bineta Guisse, “Feed the Future Senegal Youth in Agriculture’s ongoing capacity building and trainings have helped prepare youth leaders, university partners, and other stakeholders to respond to emergency needs. Clubs have been working together to assist women, young children, and families as well as Islamic spaces called daaras.”
Club 4-H Guédiawaye has made over 200 facemasks and hydroalcoholic gels for distribution within their neighborhood of Baye Laye. Another local partner of Youth in Agriculture, African Leaders Factory Initiative (ALFI Learn), has started to raise funds for youth in the daaras. Babacar Diop, a certified 4-H leader and founder of ALFI Learn, is leading efforts to provide equal access to electricity through flexible rates during the pandemic.
EcoBuilder, another local partner, is a female-led organization that has access to over 1,800 people through WhatsApp. The organization’s leaders have facilitated two sessions with certified doctors to answer questions related to COVID-19. An upcoming session will focus on good nutrition and mental wellness. EcoBuilder also will be raising funds for food donations for vulnerable populations, such as children, senior citizens, and people with disabilities.
During the COVID pandemic, the Youth in Agriculture project will continue to raise awareness among community leaders and through social networks about the importance of adopting the safety measures recommended by health authorities.