Face of aid, dependency changing with donations to fight Covid-19

17Apr 2020
The Guardian
Face of aid, dependency changing with donations to fight Covid-19

AS the world entered the battle against Covid-19 in an uneven manner, donations availed by individuals and companies towards the fight against coronavirus in Tanzania had surpassed 6bn/- by last week.

While most of the donations are local, there was a significant component of aid from China, following an earlier delivery of key protective equipment and clothing for medical personnel.

The coronavirus disease outbreak is gathering speed in Africa, and this shall call for lots more of this spirit and solidarity in the days ahead – or so it appears.

Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa received one of the most recent donations from his Dodoma office – a total of 6.226 billion/-. This was in the form of cash, disinfectants and personal protective equipment and was delivered along with other contributions like fuel to power vehicles used by the national Covi-19 response team.

All these are efforts that need to be sustained, not a situation where energies are expended at preparatory levels only to die a sudden death later in the day.

From the look of it, the Covid-19 emergency has changed the face of routine expectations for humanitarian assistance, as most Western countries face a crisis of more staggering proportions in the fight to bring the Covid-19 rage to stability and decline.

African countries have taken measures to combat the spread of the virus, whose effects will unavoidably be mitigated. One person escaping screening and confinement is enough to start a series of infections from a family, a bar, etc.

How far these contributions will be sustained in the future will relate to both the scale of the problem and the level of motivation in civil society as well as among the global community.

If Western countries manage to attain the level of containing the virus that China has reached, they will reinforce the global solidarity that now appears to be centred in actions of individuals and companies.

This way these countries alter the image of who in the current situation in the world can actually extend a helping hand in times of crisis, and unquestionably that is a different picture of the world from what we are used to.

In addition, local centres of concern and ability to make a difference are increasing, in which case these sources could also play a significant role in the days, months and years ahead.

The Covid-19 pandemic hasn’t reached its ‘climax’ in African countries, judging by trends in other countries, though its spread is somewhat subdued. For sure, no one can pray for anything worse than what we are witnessing.

The fact that the latest contributions delivered to the government were essentially from local sources, including joint ventures and individual investors, means that there is an element of the ‘localisation of humanitarian aid’.

The Covid-19 crisis is tasking countries down to their last bit of raw energy and all sources of easing the stranglehold of the virus. Nowhere is a sense of community and solidarity more urgently needed than in a time of crisis. This is among the lessons we are learning as a nation in the midst of this global colossus of a threat.