WTI Operations during the Covid-19 Pandemic

As the Covid-19 crisis sweeps across the globe, businesses, services and communities are all affected, with Windle Trust International being no different.

Windle Trust International - A student arrives riding a bicycle to attend the morning session at the ECSS Timbiro Secondary School in Yambio, Western Equatoria, South Sudan

In a constantly changing situation, Windle Trust International is adapting operations to meet the challenge of continuing to provide essential services to ensure that those affected by conflict and marginalisation can continue to access quality education whilst also maintaining the health and wellbeing of all staff and beneficiaries as of paramount importance. ​

 

What is Windle Trust International doing in South Sudan?

Currently South Sudan has not officially reported any COVID-19 cases; however WTI takes seriously the well-being of its staff and beneficiaries. Following government directives to close educational institutions, WTI has asked its staff to respond to guidance given by the Ministry of Health and observe the set curfews times. WTI staff are advised to closely follow regular government advice. In addition to the above WTI offices in South Sudan are also implementing:

  • Increased office cleaning frequency, with commonly touched areas, work surfaces and door handles wiped regularly
  • Alcohol-based hand cleansing to be placed at the entrance to WTI Offices; all staff and visitors are required to wash their hands on entry
  • Social distancing should be observed as instructed by the government at all times.
  • Staff work in shifts to avoid overcrowding in the office
  • If members of staff feel unwell, they should not come to the office or go to public places. They should self-isolate from colleagues and so far as possible, from family members.
  • Staff feeling unwell with symptoms such as breathing difficulty and high fever should contact the COVID-19 Task Force on 6666
  • WTI is working closely with the Girls Education South Sudan (GESS) secretariat to take measures that will ensure continuity of vital work. More information on the latest GESS actions and policies can be found here.

 

What is Windle Trust International doing in Sudan?

7 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Sudan by 3rd April 2020 with two causalities. The government in Sudan has announced a state of health emergency including a curfew from 6 pm to 6 am and a social distancing at all government institutions, markets and other public and private sectors. Additionally, hotlines have been established by the Ministry of Health to report suspected cases and seek medical advice or assistance. As well, all international and domestic flights have been banned together with travel between states.

The WTI country office in Sudan is strictly following all announced government COVID-19 guidelines and the UN relevant protective measures. Actions include:

  • Applying flexible work modalities, where staff members are encouraged to work from home if possible
  • Fewer staff members are allowed in the office to reduce direct contact and apply social distancing
  • Hand sanitisers and soap are made available for all visitors and staff members to use as frequently as possible.
  • Daily mobility of staff members to banks and other public or private institutions has been reduced
  • Regular calls and WhatsApp messages to all scholarship-supported students to conduct welfare checks and provide assistance where necessary
  • Sharing relevant information on COVID-19 with all students, staff members and wider communities.
  • WTI is an active member to a UN working group and an INGO forum on COVID-19 to help with formulating relevant plans and reach out to disadvantaged communities.

 

What is Windle Trust International doing in the UK?

As of 3rd April 2020 the UK has over 33,000 confirmed cases and 2921 deaths. Non-essential businesses and services are closed including schools and universities. Government guidance is to work from home where possible, which has been strictly implemented by the WTI UK office. All planned international travel has also been postponed. In order to ensure the welfare of students currently on the Postgraduate Programme, actions taken include:

  • Students currently in the UK remain in regular contact with the Postgraduate Programme team via phone and messaging groups to ensure health and welfare support.
  • We are liaising closely with universities, accommodation providers, and donors to remain on top of current policies and practices in a constantly changing situation.
  • On March 19th 2020 all Postgraduate Programme students were consulted on their preferences for staying in the UK or returning to their home countries. Full support for logistics, academics and continuation of stipend payments for those who felt the need to return would be provided. As of April 3rd 2020, all UK scholars have chosen to remain in the UK.