Bulletin in May 2020: rapid and local solutions for the coronavirus pandemic

To help stop the spread of the coronavirus, GIZ is developing new ideas and refocusing existing projects. It is taking a wide variety of approaches.

On behalf of the German Government, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is providing support in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Here is an overview of current measures in our countries of assignment. We will be updating the overview regularly.



Clean hands at the tap of a foot 

People in informal, densely populated settlements are particularly at risk of contracting COVID-19. In Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, GIZ has therefore set up more than 10,000 Tippy Taps, foot-operated devices consisting of a simple wooden frame with a water tank for washing hands, as part of the BMZ Emergency COVID-19 Support Programme. As a result, people from more than 20,000 households can adhere to the recommended hygiene measures and protect themselves more effectively against infection. The installation of the hygiene stations was accompanied by an education campaign on COVID-19 and social distancing. In future, the Namibian Government also intends to install Tippy Taps at police and army roadblocks. Windhoek plans to equip homeless shelters with the washing facilities. Other organisations and donors in various cities have adopted the idea. 

(A digital map provides an overview of the hygiene stations already available.) 

Child washing hands 1


App provides agricultural advice

Due to the nationwide lockdown, the Green Innovation Centre in western Kenya is turning to the smartphone: the test version of the KALRO GAPs App has been available since the end of March and provides in-depth recommendations on 14 crops for daily use, including corn, sweet potatoes and bananas. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ is working to further develop the app. It provides farmers throughout the country with information, for example, on selecting and preparing farmland, irrigation, using fertilisers and post-harvest practices. It focuses in particular on nature conservation and climate-friendly practices. It is planned that the app will also provide advice on crop protection, processing and marketing in future.


Diaspora against the coronavirus: GIZ supports project ideas

Especially in times of the coronavirus pandemic, migrants living in Germany want to support their countries of origin with their knowledge and their ideas. That is why GIZ’s special tender “diaspora against the coronavirus” supports project ideas in the areas of health, medicine and hygiene that are contributing to overcome the challenges of the pandemic. The tender is valid for Albania, Cameroon, Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Georgia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Morocco, Nepal, Nigeria, the Palestinian Territories, Peru, Senegal, Serbia, Tunisia, Ukraine and Viet Nam. On behalf of Germany’s Federal Development Ministry (BMZ), GIZ, since 2011, has been supporting projects that are jointly designed by so called diaspora organisations and local partners and are implemented on-site in the partner countries.

Find about more about the work done by diaspora organisations here


Safer farming in the fields

With direct contact with farmers no longer an option, two projects in Ethiopia are resorting to unconventional methods: a new radio channel has already reached half a million of them, telling them how they can protect themselves against the coronavirus – especially during the growing season, which is set to start in June. Advice on cultivation that would usually be provided out in the fields is also now being delivered via the radio. The channel is currently being broadcast in the Amhara region in collaboration with a local media agency and the projects are planning to extend the campaign to the Oromia and Tigray regions. The Green Innovation Centre in Ethiopia has also produced 30,000 posters and 3,000 flyers to be distributed in rural areas, featuring information on precautions to take against COVID-19. The two projects are part of the One World – No Hunger Initiative run by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).


Reusable masks prevent a mountain of waste

Albania will open its schools to classes doing their final exams at the end of May. In eight partner towns and municipalities, to help pupils protect themselves against infection when preparing for the tests, they will each receive two reusable respiratory masks. So far, 12,000 of the masks have been distributed to municipal workers and staff who perform key fundamental tasks such as supplying water or cleaning towns during the pandemic and who are unable to work from home. The main success story is that the cotton masks distributed so far are already replacing more than 350,000 disposable masks every month – and are therefore eliminating a lot of waste. This is particularly important in a country where the structure for disposing of and recycling waste correctly is still under construction with GIZ’s support (on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, BMZ). The masks, which can be cleaned using hot water or in the microwave, are produced by a local textile company. The project has enabled the company to avoid dismissing half of its staff due to the crisis and it has now made initial deliveries of masks to Germany.


Improving the treatment of highly infectious diseases

BMZ commissioned GIZ in 2016 to support the Government of Liberia in building a resilient health system following the outbreak of Ebola – among other things by expanding laboratory capacity, strengthening disease surveillance systems and improving the treatment of highly infectious diseases. This especially includes, the consultation of two hospitals, which benefits more than 700,000 people. During the coronavirus pandemic, GIZ supports the National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL), the Ministry of Health and regional health teams to diagnose and treat cases of COVID-19 lung disease immediately and to trace contacts in quick time. "The aim of the project was to make Liberia better prepared for highly infectious diseases, says project manager Damien Bishop. "That's why we were able to act so quickly now. We were in the right place at the right time with the right expertise". For example, three new ambulances were recently donated as part of a strategy to ensure that the integrated isolation unit (inSITU) could function as a regional treatment center for infectious diseases, including CoVID. In addition, as in Malawi and other African countries (read more here), the project has trained health workers on managing highly infectious diseases and good practice in infection prevention and control and educates the population about the risk of infection and the importance of seeking medical attention for infectious diseases early. 


Vamos! Keeping children in Latin America fit – digital sports lessons with ALBA Berlin

The coronavirus pandemic has severely restricted the freedom of movement of children and young people. In development cooperation countries, children are dealing with difficult living conditions anyway and the current situation has hit them particularly hard. To encourage young people to still take regular exercise, GIZ and the basketball club ALBA Berlin have produced three videos in Spanish that provide a kind of daily sports lesson. They reach children in Colombia, Ecuador and Paraguay via social media. The videos feature Colombian trainers and youth coaches from ALBA Berlin, who demonstrate various exercises and give age-appropriate tips on healthy nutrition. Children and teenagers can take part easily from home.

GIZ has been providing instruction in the Sport for Development approach in Colombia on behalf of the German Development Ministry (BMZ) since 2015. In addition to promoting physical activity, the focus is on preventing violence, supporting peaceful conflict resolution and reintegrating internally displaced people.

You can watch the videos on YouTube (in Spanish).



New ideas against the pandemic

With the WIDU.africa platform, GIZ supports small enterprises in Africa on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Members of the Cameroonian and Ghanaian diaspora in Germany can apply for funding here together with companies from their countries of origin. If the application is successful, they receive a business coaching as well as financial support to their own financial investments. The areas of health, nutrition and transport now play a particularly important role in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Proposals from these three sectors can receive financial support even without an investment from the diaspora if they make a direct contribution to mitigating the effects of the corona pandemic in Ghana and Cameroon


Supporting hospitals and communities along migration routes

Niger is an important migration hub in Western Africa. Every year, hundreds of thousands traverse the Sahel country in their quest for work, security and better living conditions. Communities have a hard time providing sufficient health care for migrants, refugees and the local population, however. The coronavirus pandemic is exacerbating this already tight situation. In response, GIZ has quickly provided over 25 hospitals and local health centres along the migration routes with 100,000 masks and protective gloves each, as well as 21,000 bars of soap, 300 handwashing stations and 250 thermometers and pairs of protective glasses to help protect medical personnel and patients from contracting the disease. GIZ is also helping community employees educate the population, migrants and refugees about risks and preventive measures. For their work, GIZ is supporting the production of radio programmes and informational material in various languages. On behalf of the German Development Ministry (BMZ) and cofinanced by the European Union (EU), GIZ is supporting communities in expanding their water, educational and health systems and strengthening the local economy.


Making business ideas for fighting the coronavirus market-ready

The challenges posed by the coronavirus call for quick and effective solutions, especially in developing countries and emerging economies. The lab of tomorrow (lot) run by GIZ on behalf of the German Development Ministry (BMZ) is offering an innovative process for developing new business ideas related to tackling the virus. In a concise, purely digital format, interdisciplinary teams are developing sustainable business-driven solutions in response to the crisis that can be launched quickly. GIZ provides professional coaching and supports piloting. To access important information about the lab of tomorrow and COVID-19, go to www.lab-of-tomorrow.com/covid-19.


Online business opportunities platform adds a COVID-19 focus

Leverist.de is an online portal operated by GIZ on behalf of the German Government that facilitates collaboration between the private sector and development cooperation. The idea behind the platform is to match entrepreneurial solutions with challenges in developing countries and emerging economies. Effective immediately, companies and international development stakeholders will be able to find specific needs and solutions related to the ongoing crisis compiled on a dedicated COVID-19 page. For example, in Namibia, partner companies are needed for the distribution of hygiene products in southern Africa, and in Rwanda, the search is on for partners to assist with the further development of a COVID-19 information platform. For more information and to view current business opportunities, go to: https://www.leverist.de/covid19.


Climate protection through digital channels

The C40 Cities Finance Facility (CFF) is a joint initiative of the climate protection cities network C40 and GIZ. During the coronavirus pandemic, it ensures that public authorities can digitally promote projects against global warming. On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and co-financed by international partners, CFF is implementing a total of 19 ambitious climate protection projects in 17 cities across three continents.

You can read more about this here.


Systematic and safe waste management in times of a global pandemic

The coronavirus has led to new challenges for the waste management sector, as medical waste as well as infected household waste require new methods of disposal. As Covid-19 outbreak eased its grip on China, GIZ’s China Integrated Waste Management NAMA Support Project (IWM NSP) has analysed local responses to the pandemic in several cities and provinces. In Suzhou, a municipality in Eastern China with a total of population of 10.7 million people, more than 11,000 special garbage bins for discarded face masks were set up. The city ensured separate collection, transportation and treatment of these masks assigning personnel, vehicles and facilities specifically for this task to minimise the risk of secondary contamination. Public areas and lavatories were also disinfected several times a day.

You can read more on the efforts of Chinese cities and the role of IWM NSP in transforming Chinese waste sector here.


Additional information