COVID-19 EMERGENCY CRISIS                                                #NowMoreThanEver

Support For Women and Girls and Vulnerable Communities is Needed Now More Than Ever

COVID19 has had devastating effects on communities across the Middle East. Support for these communities and those most vulnerable including women and children are needed now more than ever as we continue to witness in IDP and Refugee camps, and urban and rural communities  significant disruptions to livelihoods to meet basic needs, serious deterioration in mental health and well-being, and an alarming increase in protection violations including incidents of Gender Based Violence.

Please join us in our fight against these threats to self-resiliency, self-determination, and long-term peace-building caused by the protracted socioeconomic and post-armed conflict crises which have been significantly exacerbated by the COVID19.

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Coronavirus COVID-19 

6 Things You Should Know

General symptoms of COVID-19 according to the WHO:

  • Fever, tiredness, and dry cough are the most common symptoms
  • 1 in 6 people with COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing
  • 80% of people recover from COVID-19 without needing special treatment

Emergency warning signs of COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Anyone experiencing any of the following emergency warning signs for COVID-19 should seek medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include*:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

From the CDC webpage on How COVID-19 Spreads.

The virus is thought to primarily spread person-to-person:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Contact with contaminated surfaces or objects may also spread the coronavirus. According to the CDC, “it may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.”

Anyone can get COVID-19 if exposed to SARS-CoV-2, and anyone can potentially be at risk of serious illness. However, the CDC states on the webpage People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19 that the highest risk groups are elderly adults and people who have other serious health concerns, including those with heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.

According to the CDC: “There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.”

According to the WHO: “While some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19.”

From the CDC’s What to Do if You Are Sick resource: “There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for COVID-19. People with COVID-19 should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms.”

The CDC recommends that people experiencing emergency warning signs seek medical care immediately while following the CDC’s recommendations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 while sick.

For people who suspect they may have COVID-19, but aren’t sick enough to be hospitalized, the CDC recommends Caring For Yourself at Home following the comprehensive list of recommendations provided, which includes limiting contact with other people to avoiding spreading the disease further.

The CDC’s Steps to Prevent Illness page offers comprehensive information for how people can protect themselves and those around them. These recommendations include information about regular handwashing, cleaning and disinfecting everyday items, social distancing, and who should wear facemasks (primarily caregivers and people who are infected who will be in close contact with others).

The Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) defines social distancing as: “Measures taken to restrict when and where people can gather to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases. Social distancing measures include limiting large groups of people coming together, closing buildings and canceling events.”

Around the world, many governments, schools and business have implemented social distancing protocols by asking people to study or work from home whenever possible; canceling festivals, meetings, conferences and other gatherings; and encouraging people to limit close contact with others when possible.

COVID-19 and GBV – Alarming Figures


What WRO is Doing for COVID-19 Prevention and Response

  • Operation of Women Safe Spaces/CP/Community Centres
  • Community Mobilization
  • Camp and Non-Camp Mobile Teams
  • MHPSS and GBV Trainings for GBV and Non-GBV Actors
  • Emergency Fund/Transportation Provision for SGBV survivors
  • COVID-19/GBV/CP Case Management and PSS
  • COVID-19/GBV Psychological First Aid
  • Structured GBV PSS Activities
  • Adolescent Girls Programs
  • COVID19, Protection/GBV/CP Service Mapping/Pathways
  • Legal Support and Counselling Services
  • CRM, Protection, and GBV Hotlines
  • Safety Audits and GBV Assessments
  • Women’s and Community-Based Recreational Activities
  • Community Peaceful Coexistence Committees
  • COVID19 Awareness Raising
  • COVID19 and CP Awareness
  • COVID19 and CP Training for Non-CP Actors
  • Parenting Skills Programs
  • GBV and CP Referral and Case Management
  • GBV and CP Non-formal and Structures PSS Activities
  • Community Social Cohesion, and Recreational Activities
  • Social Cohesion/Peace-Building/Reconciliation Training
  • Peer to Peer Mentorship/Support Programs
  • Community Mediation/Reconciliation
  • Local, Regional, Global Advocacy

WRO’s COVID-19 Response on the Ground

COVID-19 Contextual Analysis

WRO’s Call for Advocacy 

Adopted and From UNDPs COVID-19 and GBV Response 

Now More Than Ever 

And although we are facing the dire consequences of the pandemic, not only in health terms, but in protection and social repercussions, we are deeply inspired by the engagement of those most at risk and survivors in the community and we are very grateful for the support from our partners that allows continue to engage and support as much as possible as again, we cannot emphasize this enough, this is not just a health pandemic, it is a dire protection and social pandemic and support for the community, survivors of GBV  and those most at risk is needed now more than ever.

  • Put Women at the Center of all Preparedness, Response and Recovery Efforts, to Mitigate Disproportionately Negative Impacts on Women and Girls and to Ensure Sustainable Recovery.

  • Local Community and GBV Survivor Led Approach and Protection and GBV Mainstreamed Throughout Response Including Ensuring Cultural Sensitivities and Gender Dynamics Are Mainstreamed in Multi-Sectorial Response

  • Inclusion of Women’s Organizations in COVID-19 Planning, Development, Execution, and Monitoring.

  • Expand Capacities of Safe Spaces and Support for GBV Survivors and Ensure that Individuals Can Safely Prepare to Break Free of Abusive Situations, By Providing Accessible Support, Advice and Reporting Mechanisms.

  • Ensure Coordination Among  UN agencies, Civil Society and Government, Including Women’s Machineries and National Human Rights Commissions, and Disseminate GBV/CP Referral Pathways Regularly and Rapidly

  • Ensure Inclusiveness To Reach As Many People As Possible, Including Hard-To-Reach, Remote and Vulnerable Groups

  • Create Referral Booklets Small Enough to be Hidden and Should Include Other non-GBV Services, So as Not to Alert a Potential Perpetrator About the Nature of the Information Supplied.

  • Collaborate with local CSO’s as Women’s Organizations for Information Dissemination

  • Provide Additional Funding and Capacity Support to CSOs that Provide Services to Hard-to-Reach Communities or Groups Facing Intersecting Forms of Discrimination.

  • Integrate GBV Prevention into Women’s Economic Empowerment Initiatives, Including Cash Transfers, Fiscal Relief and Stimulus for Businesses, and Skills Programmes.

  • Incorporate Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (SEA)/Sexual Harassment (SH)/GBV Screening Into All Recruitment and Procurement Processes

  • Foster or Develop Women’s Networks Including Women’s CSOs, GBV Survivors’ Organizations, LGTBI Associations, etc. and Engage With Them Throughout Any Intervention.

WHO COVID-19 Advocacy and Resources

This document brings to attention key health and human rights considerations with regards to COVID-19 pandemic. It highlights the importance of integrating a human rights based approach in response to COVID-19. It provides key considerations in relation to addressing stigma and discrimination, prevention of violence against women, support for vulnerable populations; quarantine and restrictive measures and shortages of supplies and equipment. It also highlights human rights obligations with regards to global cooperation to address COVID-19. – Access the publication 

This document brings attention to the different ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic and measures to address it, such as staying at home, may exacerbate the risk of domestic violence against women. It highlights the importance of ensuring that support and medical care services for women and children affected by such violence are maintained and what health providers/services can do, including through identifying and offering referral options. It provides recommendations on what measures governments, health providers, community members and others can take to mitigate such violence and its impacts. It also provides tips for coping with stress at home and actions women who are experiencing violence or their family members can take. – Access the publication

This Gender and COVID-19 advocacy brief calls on WHO Member States and all global actors to take into consideration gender in COVID-19 preparedness and response. It highlights the importance of gender analysis and gender-responsive public health policies and measures to curb the epidemic. Taking account of how gender interacts with other areas of inequality, the brief provides key considerations in relation to disaggregated data, violence against women and children, sexual and reproductive health and rights, the health and social workforce, health equity and vulnerable groups, and stigma and discrimination. – Access the publication

Several countries affected by COVID-19, have seen increases in levels of violence occurring in the home, including violence against children, intimate partner violence and violence against older people. Countries also face increasing challenges in maintaining support and care for survivors of violence. This brief compiles key actions that the health sector can undertake within a multisectoral response to prevent or mitigate interpersonal violence based on existing WHO guidance. – Access the publication

To help parents interact constructively with their children during this time of confinement, these six one-page tips for parents cover planning one-on-one time, staying positive, creating a daily routine, avoiding bad behaviour, managing stress, and talking about COVID-19. Use them to your and your kids’ advantage, and have fun in doing so. – For more healthy parenting tips