UNESCO’s Response to COVID-19

UNESCO’s Response to COVID-19

Dear Partners and Colleagues,

Today, we stand in solidarity with everyone infected and affected by COVID-19.

In this unprecedented public health crisis, our thoughts go to the sick and all those who lost loved ones to coronavirus. I also join the world in continuing to appreciate and to applaud the great strides and efforts health professionals are undertaking on the front-line to fight this pandemic. We must, however, remain prudent to tackle the challenges our communities face because of COVID-19.

In the beginning of 2020, no one could ever have predicted that a virus would force schools to close putting more than half the world’s student population out of school. Now, governments are racing in finding alternative channels to provide education, ranging from radio and television to virtual classrooms to keep schooling afloat. However, the challenge is far beyond that of devices, platforms, contents and connectivity. It is about the core nature of what it means to be human, our coming together to provide emotional support and being kind to the most fragile and vulnerable. Our children and youth are looking at us for direction because like you they have never experience this before and they may not understand why they need to stay at home. Therefore, I call upon parents and caregivers to practice patience, to understand as to be understood and to love as to be loved. Click this sideeffects

In the region, UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa is closely working with United Nations Country Teams and Member States of the 13 Countries through our National Offices, Antennae, Desks and Institutes.  In Kenya, we are working with the Government through the United Nations Country Team and the International Community under the leadership of the UN Resident Coordinator to mobilize and combine our forces in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.  UNESCO is calling on their partners to rally around inclusive and equitable quality education and lifelong learning. This is the time to come together not only to ensure that learning does not stop, but to invest in the transformational power that education carries for individuals, communities and societies. Let us not forget the impact of education in fighting poverty and inequalities, in empowering girls and women and in improving health.

Knowledge sharing is already taking place and is increasing rapidly around the world and in the region. Fake News continue to circulate, therefore, more than ever, the world needs professional journalism and reliable information to adapt its response to the spread of COVID-19, learn from experiences of other countries and counter the increase of rumors and disinformation. UNESCO is working with its networks, centers and institutes around the world to share data and solutions, to share knowledge, to build capacity and talent that are guided by the principles of inclusion and equity. UNESCO promotes Open Education Resources , networks of fact-checkersmedia and information literacy  resources to counter the spread of disinformation, and the use of digital technologies such as artificial intelligence in response to the crisis.

Finally, I urge to continue the trivial but crucial practice of: washing your hands regularly with soap and water; covering your mouth and nose with a disposable tissue while coughing or sneezing; and practicing social distancing by staying home to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Stay home, stay safe and be protected.

Ann Therese Ndong Jatta

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