Q&A – Sentebale’s response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The situation with new Coronavirus (COVID-19) is escalating and worsening, on a daily basis, worldwide. Many of you have asked what measures Sentebale has put in place. Here are your biggest questions about our response to Coronavirus, answered.

  • Has Sentebale taken any measures in response to the spread of the new Coronavirus?

Sentebale is taking measures to adapt our programmes, in light of the situation in Lesotho and Botswana, and to support the health, welfare and well-being of staff and volunteers. We want to play our part in protecting all the children, young people and their caregivers, who we work with, and who are amongst the most vulnerable in Southern Africa.

  • What measures has Sentebale taken?

Sentebale has adapted programmes by supporting young people remotely and working with healthcare workers deployed across communities during the outbreak to respond to the impact of the Coronavirus and continue to meet the needs of vulnerable children and young people in Lesotho and Botswana.

In view of the impact on our fundraising we are also taking steps Sentebale to ensure the financial health of the charity, by developing new plans and revising our budget. We are explaining the steps we have taken to key supporters so they continue to support the organisation in the most effective way possible.

  • What is the immediate impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and measures taken by Sentebale?

Sentebale is unable to implement ongoing programmes due to restrictions on movement and group gathering for staff, volunteers and beneficiaries – brought in by national governments or by staff to ensure safety of children in Botswana and Lesotho.

There will be a significant impact on fundraising as planned events have had to be postponed.

There is a threat to health and welfare of staff and volunteers due to Coronavirus – resulting in a potential loss of capacity due to illness or self-isolation.

  • What will be the longer-term impact of the pandemic and measures taken by Sentebale?

There may be an increased programme demands due to impact of Coronavirus on children, young people and their caregivers in Southern Africa. The impact of Coronavirus on populations with large numbers of people living with HIV and AIDS is still an unknown factor in the pandemic.

  • What measures has Sentebale taken with regards to its programmes?

Sentebale has suspended all club and camp activities, at least until May.

Sentebale is developing alternative programming models – such as regular contact with young people through phone for motivation and encouragement.

Sentebale is supporting clinics and healthcare workers with multi-month dispensing of medicines.

Sentebale is supporting the provision of trusted information on Coronavirus and prevention activities.

Sentebale is investigating the possibility of radio programmes with Let Youth Lead advocates, and potential creative ‘virtual’ activities the young advocates can engage with during the countries’ lockdown period.

Sentebale is exploring other options for alternative programme models.

  • What measures has Sentebale put in place to ensure the health and welfare of staff?

All London office staff are working from home and communicating through daily Zoom calls and a new work plan has been developed.

All Lesotho and Botswana office staff are working from home, after both governments declared Coronavirus as a national emergency, where possible staff has been provided with equipment or airtime to enable home working.

Sentebale is ensuring all key physical assets, such as the Mamohato Children’s Centre & Botswana camp, are secured.

Sentebale is ensuring best practice is followed by all staff to prevent virus transmission – hand washing, social distancing and disinfecting work surfaces.

All offices are ensuring regular check-in and contact with staff.

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