APIA, SAMOA – 26 AUGUST 2020: The U.S. government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is launching two new projects in Samoa to help communities to prepare for and respond to COVID-19 and other disasters.
USAID awarded $1.8 million to Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to support efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the Pacific Island nations of Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Samoa, and Tonga.
Together with CRS’ local partner Caritas, USAID is disseminating critical information and educational materials about the pandemic, installing handwashing stations and water tanks at strategic points on the islands, and distributing hygiene kits to help people stay healthy.
USAID is also working with CARE to provide $1.85 million to collaborate with local organizations in Samoa, Kiribati and Tuvalu to distribute hygiene supplies and raise awareness on safe hygiene practices to help people, especially at-risk communities, to protect themselves from COVID-19.
Helping People with Disabilities
In Samoa, CARE’s local partner Nuanua O Le Alofa, a disability advocacy organization, is working to reach persons with disabilities with critical information about COVID-19 through braille and sign-language translation services, approximately 600 hygiene kits tailored to their unique needs, and 300 disability support items to enable safe hygiene practices.
Another local organization in Samoa, Women in Business Development Inc. will provide COVID-19 educational materials for homes and farms and will locally produce coconut oil soap with educational COVID-19 messages on the packages for distribution to vulnerable communities.
Through a partnership with the United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Samoa, USAID is also providing child protection services – including psychological support for children and parents, social services and training in psychological first aid for community leaders – to help respond to the increased prevalence of child abuse, neglect, exploitation, and family separation as a result of the pandemic.
The grants to CRS, CARE, and UNICEF are part of the U.S. government’s total $24.2 million assistance to support efforts to prevent and respond to the spread of COVID-19 in Pacific island nations.
“I cannot overstate how much we value working with our local partners. It is critical that we have the right resources, relationships, and expertise pulling together to fight COVID-19. The U.S. is also committed to continuing to work with our networks around the region to address the other health challenges facing Pacific peoples,” U.S. Ambassador Scott Brown said.
The COVID-19 prevention and response programs supported by USAID will provide Samoan communities with critical information and resources to help ensure they are prepared to protect themselves from the virus should it arrive in the country.
The U.S. government, through USAID, partners with 12 Pacific Islands, including Samoa, to bolster their capacity to lead their countries to more prosperous futures. USAID activities in the region build self-reliance while fostering prosperity and regional stability by strengthening their ability to plan, finance, and lead their own sustainable development.