We’re writing this on March 23rd and the world has shifted. Let us start by expressing how grateful we are for each one of you. Relationships are precious and we appreciate your messages of concern and encouragement. Together, we will continue to do everything we can to support the people of rural Tanzania.
Yesterday the Tanzania government announced precautionary measures to protect the country and minimize exposure of the spread of COVID-19. Among them, schools have been closed for 30 days, certain gatherings are restricted, and social distancing is strongly recommended. This is a priority for our in-country staff members, who will be working from home for the next two weeks. We are closely following government recommendations in Tanzania and are responding with the needs of the staff, families, women, and children in rural Tanzania in mind. Our posture has always been to listen closely to the needs of our shared communities and respond with swift compassion.
Volunteers that span the globe—all of whom have always worked virtually—support much of our work. We are committed to following the recommendations of the CDC, WHO, and all country mandates.
This week, education and nutritional support is our #1 priority. At the request of our in-country staff, we have created a Power Point focusing on facts about COVID-19 that has been loaded onto the digital technology of our 67 Community Health Workers and Educators. These women will continue to educate those they can and deliver accurate information as they are able (while practicing social distancing).
We will continue to encourage proper hand washing and sanitation via phone calls, text messages, YouTube, and WhatsApp. Our field staff is also organizing food services for students who are home from school and who are unable to attend our after-school and weekend tutoring programs due to the restrictions on gatherings. These are immediate program responses and they are possible solely because of your past generosity. We will continue to share news and information on our social media channels and do our best to put our gratitude for you in words. Time and time again, we’ve seen the most vulnerable among us bear the biggest weight of hardship. We are committed to supporting our brothers and sisters in Tanzania for the duration.
We wish each of you health and peace during this time. As we often say, we are better together. May we continue to hold each other up in these tender times.
The Empower Tanzania BOD and Tanzania Team