May 12, 2021

Muppets are champions in COVID-19 protection!

Zahraa reading the storybook in her class
Zahraa reading the storybook in her class

Raya and Elmo are the champions of learning how to protect ourselves from COVID-19

 Zahraa is a 10 year old girl from Zummar sub district, located 60km northwest of Mosul with a population of 50,000. She is in the fourth grade and is from an educated family, as her father is a teacher. Zahraa comes from a large family of ten and is the second-youngest of the 8 children.                                                            

During the conflict with ISIL, Zahraa was still very young and was not even at the age to attend school. When ISIL came, her family left Zummar and moved to the city of Duhok.  At that time, the family’s economic situation suffered, causing all ten family members to stay in one small apartment.

Zahraa said, “I didn’t have friends in Duhok, as I couldn’t engage with the new community in Duhok and I wasn’t happy there.” She continued, “After we came back to Zummar I felt happy and I registered in school, and the life is happier after ISIL. I have friends in school I can play with.”

Zahraa enjoyed the WASH Up! Programme very much. Through every lesson she started following Raya and Elmo from Sesame Street in everything from washing hands to wearing shoes, and from keeping the classroom clean to keeping the toilet clean.

She said, “As I’m at home and school is closed now due to the COVID-19 situation, I still remember Raya and Elmo’s instructions regarding washing hands and keeping our personal hygiene to be healthy.  I’m ready to go back to school and finish all the remaining sessions for WASH Up!” 

Zahraa’s favorite activity was learning how to boil unsafe water, cool it, and save it in a closed bottle to protect it from germs.  She shared, “When we were in Duhok, the water amount was not enough and it wasn’t safe.”                                                                                       

Zahraa’s happiest moments were when she was given a school bag, nail clippers, toothbrush, toothpaste and washing shampoo.  Zahraa said, “Really, I was so happy with all my friends in school. I love my blue school bag so much, and I always clean it and keep it with me. My dream in the future is to become a doctor and help people.

Sesame Street with World Vision is reaching across Iraq

For this school year, World Vision Iraq provided the Sesame Street curriculum to and trained 20 teachers in Northern Iraq in Ninewa Governorate (Zummar sub-district). Through 16 sessions the children learned about personal hygiene and were encouraged to go home and share what Raya and Elmo had taught them with their families and friends. Through WASH Up! World Vision has been able to distribute 1,055 hygiene kits (school backpack, toothbrush, toothpaste, nail clippers, and shampoo) to students.

Through the Sesame Street curriculum, children like Zahraa were more prepared to face COVID-19.  The better hygiene practices learned at school, practiced, and shared at home with their families, are not only vital in daily life, but are especially important in times like these where everyone is facing a global pandemic.

Zahraa during a WASH Up play session
Zahraa during a WASH Up play session
May 10, 2021

COVID-19 1 Year On

Eunice (center) with colleagues at the dispensary
Eunice (center) with colleagues at the dispensary

On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. In the face of the most harrowing health crisis in a century, World Vision immediately launched the largest humanitarian response in our 70-year history. We pivoted all 35,000 staff working in nearly 100 countries, utilising our decades of humanitarian experience, to respond in a way that ensured our programme quality and accountability to children and their families remained at the heart of our work.

This report reflects on the impact of the response over the last year, see the attached report for full details.


OBJECTIVE 1 - Scale up preventative measures to limit the spread of disease

  • 31,451,096 People reached through promotion of preventative behaviors
  • 5,573,530 Information, education, and communication materials printed and distributed
  • 4,803,098 Handwashing supplies distributed
  • 14,944,464 Community members provided preventative materials
  • 2,774,173 Comprehensive hygiene kits distributed
  • 291,022 Cleaning kits distributed to vulnerable communities
  • 88,654 Community-level public handwashing stations established or maintained
  • 97,175 Water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities constructed or rehabilitated
  • 128,669 Faith leaders disseminating preventative measures


OBJECTIVE 2 - Strengthen health systems and workers

  • 158,661 Community health workers (CHWs) trained and supported
  • 8,441,555 Masks distributed, including to health facilities, health workers, and communities
  • 4,681,942 Glove sets distributed, including to health facilities, health workers, and communities
  • 428,867 Medical personnel provided with PPE


OBJECTIVE 3 – Support children affected by COVID-19 with education, child protection, food security and livelihoods

  • 3,424,202 People reached with information, education, and communication psychosocial support materials
  • 1,864,201 People provided with education support or training
  • 1,143,471 Education materials provided to enable or support remote learning
  • 57,271 Teachers provided with education training and support
  • 1,500,335 Children reached with targeted, age-specific health education
  • US$21,754,076 Cash and voucher assistance distributed
  • 2,017,056 People reached with cash and voucher assistance


IMPACT STORY > Water Critical to COVID Response in Mwala

by Samuel Gamusa, World Vision Kenya

When news of a new virus hit the headlines of the world, 30-year-old Eunice’s medical intuition kicked in. She sensed in her spirit, that it would be only a matter of time before the contagious virus arrived in Kenya, given the speed at which it was spreading across the globe. Since 2016 when she joined a dispensary in Machakos County, as Hospital Charge, her major role has been to work with the community to help treat and prevent the spread of diseases within Mwala Community. True to what she feared most, Kenya recorded its first COVID-19 case and 6 months later the county is looking at a catastrophe with tens of thousands of confirmed cases, mainly spread by community infections. Eunice notes, “Mwala is only 2 hours’ drive from Nairobi City which is the epicenter of coronavirus and what the community needed most is proper knowledge and information on how to protect themselves from the virus as we all work to deal with this pandemic. That is exactly what World Vision provided to us.”

Given the potential for increased spread of coronavirus, World Vision initiated an emergency preparedness and response plan for COVID-19 for all the area programs in Kenya, including the Mwala Community. The response plan promotes preventive measures through awareness education and promoting good family and community hygiene and sanitation behaviors, all in collaboration with the ministry of health and the county governments.

Eunice confirmed that the COVID-19 response plan has greatly contributed towards stopping or slowing the spread of coronavirus amongst households in Mwala. She says, “What World Vision did, was a partnership between Ministry of Health, Church Leaders and Local Administration on the ground to scale up prevention measures as well as teach communities how to deal with child protection issues, now that children are at home.” World Vision vehicles were branded with COVID-19 safety information and fitted with public address systems to reach over 43,000 with the safety message.

Margaret, a World Vision Kenya staff member, noted that during this time of the pandemic, the Mwala community has benefited from World Vision’s long-term water investment through the construction of Kangondi Water Project in the community. The water project supplies clean and portable water to almost all households including the Dispensary, providing the much-needed relief in the pandemic.

Eunice notes, “I do not want to imagine what the community would do at this time without water. To fight this pandemic, access to water is key and I am glad World Vision did that long-term investment in this community many years ago.” Eunice cannot hide her joy for what World Vision has done to make her work easier as she points to a hand washing facility with liquid soap, personal protective equipment and disinfectants that they use at the hospital. She says, “World Vision is helping us meet our target in providing good outpatient services to the community of Mwala. Now everyone in this community knows the importance of wearing a mask, hand washing and keeping social distance. 

Margaret shows handwashing messages on WV vehicles
Margaret shows handwashing messages on WV vehicles

May 10, 2021

East Africa Hunger Crisis > 2020 response update


In East Africa, millions of families are battling hunger, malnutrition, destroyed livelihoods, and poverty, brought on by COVID-19, floods, mass displacement, and the most aggressive plague of locusts in seven decades.

Saving livelihoods and food sources

To help the region deal with locusts:

  • World Vision equipped community leaders to train others on diversifying crops, managing livestock and crops to reduce loss, and implementing a low-cost land regeneration method to restore farmlands.
  • More than 1,000 farmers in Kenya impacted by locusts received drought-tolerant seeds to help rebuild their livelihoods.
  • Households received cash assistance to help them meet their basic needs.

Recovering from floods

In response to floods that have left thousands of people in makeshift shelters, World Vision distributed food, non-food items (such as kitchen utensils, blankets, and hygiene supplies), seeds and farming equipment, and cash vouchers.

In displacement camps, we focused on providing proper sanitation facilities and ensuring people had access to clean drinking water, whether through new water systems or water purification methods. For example, 3,872 people in displacement camps in Somalia received wheelbarrows, rakes, brooms, and protective gloves to improve sanitation conditions, and 3,000 people learned about proper hygiene.

Protecting families in South Sudan

Since 2016, intercommunal fighting in South Sudan has forced many people out of their homes. The situation has put children at risk of abduction, violence, and psychosocial distress. We also are witnessing a significant need for women and girls to access gender-based violence-prevention services.

Our response included:

  • Training social workers on child protection and gender-based violence
  • Informing 52,514 people about child protection issues through health centers and door-to-door visits
  • Setting up Child-Friendly Spaces, giving 1,429 children outlets to play, learn, and express their feelings
  • Empowering 149 women with literacy and life skills, and distributing feminine hygiene kits to 218 women


Photo caption

Since floods forced Elseba (seated) and her family from their home, they have been staying at a makeshift camp. They were cold and hungry until they received food, blankets, sleeping mats, cooking utensils, and money from World Vision. Elseba no longer struggles to feed her family, and she is saving money to rebuild her home.

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