Nepal requires the help of NGOs

By: Rita Tisdall and Johnny Baltzersen 

Over 65% of PCR tests are positive. The COVID-19 infection rate in Nepal has exploded with over 300,000 new cases in the last few months. The official infection number is now approaching 600,000.

Hospitals have collapsed. There is a lack of oxygen. Food supplies are at a standstill. In remote areas, hunger is knocking on the door. You are only allowed to go out for a few hours a day to buy basic necessities. If you have something to buy. With extensive curfews, especially the poorest with only menial jobs find it difficult to earn even a tiny bit of money to make ends meet.

During the first COVID-19 wave, police recorded 319 cases of suicide among children. The real number was probably higher, and here, during the second and much more violent wave, the need to protect children and young people has increased significantly.

As so often before, the Nepalese government has collapsed and is unable to provide effective crisis management. The Social Welfare Council, which monitors all NGO-funded projects in Nepal, has mandated national and international NGOs to earmark between 5 and 20 percent of their project budgets for COVID-19 related activities.

CICED’s partner Just Nepal Foundation is already hard at work. JNF has mobilized 40 young people engaged in our youth projects and formed a COVID response team.

The young people deliver food to the most isolated and vulnerable groups in the area. They assist with transportation to health checks and provide information on how to best protect yourself against COVID-19. Packages with masks, gloves, paracetemol and instructions for caring for corona patients are distributed to households.

JNF has secured a daily three-hour slot on local radio. In addition to advice on how to best protect yourself from infection, there are tips on how to deal with stress and anxiety, and programs for children in local languages.

CICED has already sent DKK 25,000 from its own pocket to the Just Nepal Foundation. Hopefully, a COVID-19 reallocation of DKK 170,000 of the budget for the project Better Life – Educating and Keeping Children Safe in Helambu will be approved.

Support contributions for the COVID-19 efforts in Helambu can be paid to
MobilePay 543910
Or bank: 8401-1148263
Mrk deposit: JNF
As always, grants are transferred in full.

Even when things look bleak, there is hope. Figures from the last few days show a decrease in infection and deaths. The challenge now is to persevere and reduce the social impact on those who are most vulnerable.

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