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A letter from our Sports Coordinators in Malawi

“Waking up to news, messages, video and audio clips of how many new cases and new deaths have come with the COVID-19 pandemic is tear dropping. It’s a situation I have never thought was possible. It’s a new normal that is difficult to embrace. I am thinking of my family and friends.”  – Kennedy Zakochera, Sports and play coordinator Malawi. 

COVID-19 has affected the way we interact with each other as humans. Since the outbreak people are panicking and living in fear. This also affected our daily work heavily because most of the institutions and stakeholders we work with have closed down their premises, which affects our projects e.g. schools and communities. 

As the pandemic persists globally there is a major shift going on. The focus now is on fighting the virus. Hence some of our donors have stopped supporting our cause (sports, education, health and nutrition etc). This has affected us hugely. Our operations has been slowed down and with the current trend we are not certain about the future in terms of the implementation of our projects.

Also Mchinji, the district where Join for Joy and Zikomo Foundation are implementing the Sport and play program, has been affected by the virus. Unfortunately we don’t know how many people are infected but the known fact is that this crisis has had a big impact on large groups of people.

The Mchinji district is an agro-based economy and the socio-economic impact for the people in our projects has gone beyond the spread of the virus. Concerns have shifted from supply side manufacturing issues to creating business in the service sector. This has brought severe consequences particularly to the poor families who depend on farming and live from hand to mouth income. The economic side effects of Covid-19 have put a lot of pressure on their daily survival.

Besides, the women and children of the communities are likely to face increased gender-based violence. The virus has also accelerated child poverty in homes and hence it has disrupted access to education and other essential needs.

Since the inception of Join for Joy last year, we have seen a significant impact on behavioural change in certain learners, particularly on increased attendance in school in large numbers as well as participation in games. A significant number of learners have been empowered with skills through different games e.g. coping with losing or winning games, respecting each other etc. We have also taken a role in fighting against the spread of the Corona-virus by distributing informative posters to teachers and education officials for creating community awareness. We believe our initiatives help to reduce the escalation of the outbreak and support the communities to get back on their feet, and their children back in schools.