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TSDI Donates $5000 to SI4DEV to Fight COVID-19 in Nigeria

These are challenging times for most of us, but even more so for countries and communities where there are no social protections. The United Nations is estimating doubled unemployment in Africa and the IMF has announced a global recession. It is envisaged that the COVID-19 outbreak will be devastating to Nigerians if there is no relief from government and philanthropists. Local NGOs need to step up because foreign donors are battling the pandemic in their countries, international and domestic flights are closed, and foreign travelers are being quarantined.

It is with this background that TSDI has decided to donate targeted funding to SI4DEV, our affiliate partner in Nigeria. Organizations like SI4DEV are deeply rooted in their local communities and are therefore best positioned to provide reliable support at times like this when western NGOs are pulling their staff out of the country and fund raising to focus relief efforts elsewhere.

With the SI4DEV Partners Training Program which is supported by TSDI mentors cancelled for 2020 and pilot projects sponsored through our Ventures Fund postponed, this is the best way of remaining supportive of SI4DEV. Our donation will help strengthen local capacity for future disaster or disease outbreak relief work as well as general organizational planning and management.

Nigeria is already constrained in managing a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, with about 48% of the population living in extreme poverty. Nigeria ranks very poorly on indicators of malnutrition and hunger, access to health and education, employment, income, economic growth, and productivity. The country is also grappling with ongoing security challenges and the humanitarian crisis of internally displaced persons caused by Boko Haram attacks and communal clashes. The health system is also under-resourced, with only an estimated 500 respirators in the entire country.

The first incidence of coronavirus was announced 27th February 2020 in Lagos, Nigeria, and by late March there were still less than 50 cases which were limited just 5 out of 36 states. Unfortunately, in the time since then, inadequate infectious disease training and insufficient supply of protective equipment have led to several health workers testing positive for COVID-19 and having to self-isolate.

In fact, the entire leadership at one of the best medical centers in Nigeria (University College Hospital Ibadan) was infected during a COVID-19 task force incident command team meeting.
Also, a presidential adviser who was infected on a trip to Europe spread the virus upon his return to over four state governors and other policy advisors. In the past week, cases have jumped to over 170 including top politicians in more than 10 states in the country.

To limit the virus spread, the Nigerian president on 29th March 2020 announced a total shut down of movements in the major economic centers of Nigeria, in addition to state government orders closing schools, large gatherings, etc. The shutdown is for an initial period of 2 weeks, lasting into mid-April, but looking at the current number of cases, Nigeria is in the low troughs of the epidemiological curve when compared to what was observed in other countries.

We support these initial social distancing precautions by the Nigerian government to keep infections and deaths down. We will be working closely with SI4DEV to monitor the impacts on the grassroots communities they serve. SI4DEV will post field reports on theirs or our website and account for how any funds raised have been used.