The COVID-19 pandemic is unravelling decades of progress on girls' equality. To stop the setback, Plan International is working hard in different regions of the world to ensure girls, young women, children and marginalised groups are protected and supported as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds. With the EU being among the main donors in humanitarian aid, we wanted to understand from our colleagues how the pandemic is unfolding in their regions and what they believe could be done for girls and young women in their region.
‘When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived to the region back in January 2020, Plan International Asia-Pacific has been on the ground to respond to the situation. Our priority has been to identify and analyse the impact of the pandemic on the local population and, in particular, on the lives of girls and women’ say Vanda Lengkong, Head of Disaster Risk Management, and Krista Zimmerman, Regional Head of Influencing and Policy. Moreover, they add ‘the crisis has challenged us to adapt quickly and to deliver our work despite the changing context and limitations. So far, we have been able to reach more than 18 million people in the whole Asia-Pacific region, 50% of those recipients being women and girls. An important aspect of our response is that it aims to be gender-transformative even in this challenging situation’.
As a result of the support received from, among others the EU, the Plan International Asia-Pacific offices has been able to play a significant role when it comes to the prevention and mitigation of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact. It allowed them to address the needs of girls, young women and their family preventing sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), protecting children and providing psycho-social assistant to entire communities.
We wanted to know from our colleagues in the Asia-Pacific Office what matters most according to them in their region when it comes to overcoming COVID-19 and possible setbacks for girls’ equality. In the upcoming weeks, we will be talking to many more Plan International colleagues, to get a sense of their priorities and their ways of coping with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.