U.S. lends coronavirus pandemic support

Samoa will benefit from funding support to boost its efforts to prevent and respond to the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to the United States of America (U.S.A.).

The total value of the assistance provided by America through funding support stands at US$24.2 million (T$63 million).

This was highlighted in a stated in a statement issued by the United States of America’s Embassy in Samoa on Tuesday.

According to the statement, the United States Government, through its United States Agency for International Development (U.S.A.I.D.), is launching two new projects in Samoa to help communities to prepare for and respond to COVID-19 and other disasters.

“U.S.A.I.D. awarded $1.8 million to Catholic Relief Services (C.R.S.) to support efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the Pacific Island nations of Fiji, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Samoa, and Tonga,” reads the statement.

It added that together with C.R.S. local partner Caritas, U.S.A.I.D. 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.

U.S.A.I.D. is also working with CARE to provide $1.85 million to collaborate with local organisations 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.  

In Samoa, CARE’s local partner is 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 (U.N.I.C.E.F.) 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 C.R.S., CARE, and U.N.I.C.E.F. 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.

The U.S. Ambassador, Scott Brown, said that he cannot overstate how much they value working with our local partners.

“It is critical that we have the right resources, relationships, and expertise pulling together to fight COVID-19,” he said.

He added that 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.

The COVID-19 prevention and response programs supported by U.S.A.I.D. 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 U.S.A.I.D. partners with 12 Pacific Islands including Samoa, to bolster their capacity to lead their countries to more prosperous futures. U.S.A.I.D. 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.

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