A team of academics from the University of Wolverhampton has focused its efforts on raising awareness of COVID-19 across the Congo Basin by diverting funding to help countries affected by the pandemic.
The Centre for International Development and Training (CIDT) at the University is a leading specialist for capacity strengthening services for international development agencies, projects and programmes.
Offering practical solutions based on over four decades of experience in more than 140 countries worldwide, during the pandemic the team have been raising awareness of COVID-19 in areas with the fewest resources and barriers to infection.
As the pandemic has taken hold across the world, the CIDT staff re-focussed their priorities and their key donors and funders, the European Union (EU), the Department for International Development (DFID) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation have agreed the repurposing of over £174,000 of funds.
The money will be used to raise awareness of COVID-19 in the countries across the Congo Basin, providing sanitation kits to over 6,000 households of indigenous peoples and local forest communities.
Dr Aurelian Mbzibain, Associate Professor (International Development) at the University, who is leading the response, said: “This is really positive news and this money will go a long way in helping raise awareness and fighting COVID-19 with the communities we are working with across the Congo Basin.
“Increasing transparency and availability of information from communities will help address both the current health crisis, and reduce forest and wildlife crimes. If illegal activity during and after COVID-19 cannot be controlled, it is inevitable that forest and land conversion will increase, putting further pressure on indigenous peoples, especially women, local forest communities and the forests themselves, undermining climate change efforts.”
As well as providing practical support, guidance and equipment throughout the response, local partners will document any cases of illegality during the pandemic.
For more information about the work of the Centre for International Development, you can visit www.cidt.org.uk for more details.