In order to mitigate the (long-term) negative impacts of COVID-19 on staff members’ mental health, as staff counsellor and together with my unit, we designed a workshop which I presented online to all sections within MONUSCO on the psycho-social impact of COVID-19, and how to cope. I also was nominated to be part of COVID-19 task force where we developed protocols on the COVID response. As a task force, we ensured that staff were updated weekly, medical and psycho-social support was given to infected, contact tracing was done, and fumigation services were done. During the COVID-19 period, I also developed and delivered live online relaxation exercises to staff members, as well as mindfulness exercises which is one of the techniques that helps coping with stress. As we all know, there's no health without mental health, and well-being is very key. My interventions during this period and before really promoted staff mental health and well-being which made it possible for them to cope with the challenges and mitigated the risk of developing long term mental health issues in future.
In March 2020, faced with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government of Guinea Conakry decided to close all schools. Students remained confined to their homes with little means to learn. To address this issue, I initiated an online learning program on social media so that students could continue learning. At first, I was only targeting students from my own country, but eventually I received testimonials from several countries about the quality of my online courses.
Emmanuel Egorp(Community Mobilization)
I noticed, based on the global programming model for Gender-Based Violence (GBV) prevention and response, the aspect of "men and boys’ engagement" was missing. I was told several efforts did not yield results due to multiple factors including that, "men ought not to be given any more attention considering existing power imbalances”. However, I was able to convince her that in most cases, especially in Northern Nigeria, the women have been so conditioned that they have themselves become gatekeepers of the harmful practices to younger women and their daughters. The role of men in changing this is critical. Together with the focal point for the Ministry of Women Affairs, we mobilized and held the first men and boys against GBV meeting in the first week of October at Bakassi Internally Displaced Persons Camp. Currently, the Annual Work Plan for 2021 is going to feature more prominently such activities in a formal way and scale up to other camps to get men and boys to mitigate GBV in their communities mostly through peer messaging and risk reduction.
Marriane Enow Tabi(Empowerment)
I am a UN Volunteer with the World Food Programme (WFP) and in the last 21 months, I have been supporting Central African refugees, women and people living with HIV in Cameroon’s Adamawa region to help build back and take charge of their lives. This has been achieved through various of WFP’s nutrition support and economic empowerment schemes which I supervised every month. The scheme equips beneficiaries especially women with resilience tools to avoid relapsing. Through my work, most women beneficiaries who before the start of the programme, suffered discrimination from their communities and had difficulties supporting their families due to their HIV status, are now self-reliant and have succeeded to maintained treatment. Most of these women have now become active decision makers within their families.