Whilst infection rates have remained low, the impacts of the SARS-COV-2 virus are already affecting the livelihoods of the villagers in Chi Kraeng district. Many household incomes are supplemented by remittances from family members working in tourism in Siem Reap, in Thailand, on construction sites around the country or the garment industry centred around Phnom Penh. Due to the global economic slowdown, the tourism industry has collapsed, factories are shedding workers, construction has halted, and an estimated 70,000 migrant workers have returned to rural villages in the last month alone.
Right now, the support provided by TGF is more essential than ever before, and we are doing all we can to continue to assist these vulnerable rural populations during this difficult time. Despite restrictions on our activities to reduce the spread of the virus, we continue to operate across the villages we support to ensure the continued delivery of vital services, health information, improve sanitation and hygiene access, increase household resilience and support government initiatives to contain the virus.
As such, TGF’s response has been twofold. First, to assist local authorities and health workers in disseminating health information to reinforce good hygiene measures and basic social distancing guidelines and second, to work directly with villagers to improve access to sanitation and hygiene and increase household food production to increase their resilience to price increases or food shortages.
Temple Garden Foundation has so far:
- Siloed staff from each of our 4 programmes to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 between staff members and beneficiaries.
- Provided all staff with COVID-19 health education, personal protective equipment and alcohol-based hand sanitisers.
- Introduced temperature checks for participants before all field activities and distance spacing between participants.
- Conducted COVID-19 health education for local village, commune and health centre chiefs.
- Provided thousands of protective masks and hand sanitiser to primary healthcare facilities for use with patients.
- Posted public health information posters on COVID-19 mitigation in key locations around the 5 communes in which we work.
- Provided mobile health messaging directly to 59 villages reaching approximately 10,000 households.
- Coordinated with local authorities to provide food and water to returning workers quarantined for 2 weeks.
- Provided materials and training to more than 75 households in home vegetable, fish and chicken production.
- Established a well drilling team to subsidise the drilling of community wells to ensure access to water for hygiene and sanitation.
- Worked to develop home learning tools for parents and students to assist them in continuing education while schools are closed.