Development for Peace Education (DPE) has received a grant totaling to USD 35,000.00 from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Thursday the 3rd September 2020 at a ceremony held at Avani Lesotho in Maseru. The grant is for implementation of a promotion of social cohesion and community engagement initiative response against COVID-19 in eight (8) DPE working areas. The initiative will cover 115 villages from eight DPE areas within seven community councils in the six of the 10 districts of Lesotho. The DPE areas are Lekokoaneng, ‘Mamaebana, Khoelenya, Seforong, Hloahloeng, Kuebunyane, Lebakeng and Polihali.
DPE’s call and interest to take the fight against COVID-19 to the communities is based on its conviction that the fight against COVID-19 will not be won from Maseru but from the villages, households, workplaces and service centers through revitalisation of people’s potency and resilience. The niche is to reduce the rate of community-based transmissions.
DPE is going to achieve this with the help of village chiefs through mobilisation and establishment of Village COVID-19 Response Teams made up of community leadership; community policing forums, village health workers, community based organisations, business, youth, women, teachers, faith & traditional leaders, farmers etc. The teams shall vary in sizes and will range from 10-20 people. After establishment, the teams shall be trained on key COVID-19 messages and be given practical skills on two thematic areas; ii) stay home, save energy and produce and ii) communication, collaboration and advocacy. These teams shall have peace orientation, an approach that will not only enable them to carry everyone on board but surely prepares community for post-COVID-19 challenges.
It is a firm believe of DPE that community resilience to fight the pandemic will be achieved by utilising and enhancing social cohesion by engaging and improving existing cultural and community practices in the villages. This approach may also relieve the already burdened health care system by applying home-based care to those infected but do not necessarily need to be hospitalised or to be taken to government quarantine facilities.
The initiative is set to take three (3) months starting from September 2020 ending in December 2020. Other grantees awarded with DPE are Lesotho Red Cross, Edmonds, Partners in Health, Ether Pharmacy, Mineworkers Development Agency and World Vision International-in Lesotho.