Eco Worrior, a non-governmental organization has distributed thousands of food items to residents within the Kumasi Metropolis during pre and post lockdown directives.
The gesture forms part of the government's swift interventions to prevent the speedily spread of the deadly CONVID-19 Virus.
There were diverse pictures from Asokwa in the Ashanti Region where people had queued waiting to be given a support package in the form of rice and oil as part of the COVID-19 relief program.
The organization and three other organizations in Kumasi with support from KFC were also distributing Special KFC hot meals as Easter Monday surprise for the vulnerable precisely the elderly amidst the lockdown.
In a statement, Mr. Otuo Akyempon-Boakye the director of Eco-worrior says the organization and three other organizations together with KFC distributed 2000 hot meals to some vulnerable people in Aboabo, Anloga, Asokwa and Kwadaso.
He said, these places are noted to be densely populated yet we could ensure social distancing.
Mr. Otuo said, they used used different strategies to ensure social distancing in distribution to curb the virus.
"Our strategy was to get to our beneficiaries first rather than they getting to us. With the help of the Ashanti Regional Boys Scout, we had already scouted the area and had identified our target groups". Mr. Otuo said.
Here are some of the strategies employed :
Setting a target group
To be able to ensure social distancing when distributing packages especially stimulus packages it is important to first identify your target group.
Many groups of people are vulnerable but which particular group of the vulnerable would you want to serve first. Street folks, disabled, elderly, and the mentally challenged are only a few of the groups I can mention.
Identify the group or groups you want to support and get to them. You can use their leaders if they have any or community leaders to find their location.
Forming teams of distributors
In our case, this actually helped us as at the same location we could have three teams each looking out for a different target group to serve. At say Aboabo, we could have three teams with team one targeting the elderly, Team 2 for the street folks, and Team 3 looking out for the disabled. This made distribution fast and easy.
Getting to them
The only way we could ensure social distancing was to get to them (our target group) and not they getting to us. In the case of Asokwa, the people rather got to the distributors first, and that caused the crowding. Our truck with the meals was parked at a safe distance and the team members picked the meals from that spot and walked all the way to the wooden structures and homes to give the package to our beneficiaries.
They could only see people bring packages to them not knowing where they brought the food from (as in where the truck was parked). The Ashanti Regional Boys Scout gave us Boys who were standing by the truck to prevent crowding as well.
Recommendation to Government and other Organizations
We can distribute food either uncooked or hot and still ensure social distancing if we can use the “Get to them Strategy”. An organization can request for the services of other security groups like the Boys Scout, Brigade to help in the distribution.
Moreso, I would recommend that all organizations serving food whether uncooked or hot must inform the District Assemblies to draw out a plan to prevent double sharing at a particular location. So as not to make this political as many organizations may claim, the assemblies should only confirm the location and leave the sharing for the organizations.
Lastly, I would want to plead with organizations distributing packages who would want to take pictures to inform the people first before they do so. It is an undeniable fact that the two most important aspects of the work of NGOs are reporting and communication so they need pictures as evidence for their funders and for publicity. But it would be very appropriate if the person or people are informed of the picture before you take them.
In conclusion: We can reduce the number of people in the streets if they know we shall come to them. So why are we not getting to them first!!! And I support the directives by the Local Government concerning the sharing of packages. My organization is ready to help whenever we are called.
President of Eco Warriors Movement