It has been a month since the Maldives detected a Covid-19 community transmission.
A multi-agency task force was immediately deployed by the government, which has been working day in and out to contain the spread of the disease. This includes the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment.
This is one institution that has been providing integral services to citizens in Male' area with its staff and volunteers' network.
With everyone confined to their houses due to the lockdown enacted in Male' area, the city’s delivery system was overwhelmed as expected. Hence, Minister Ahmed Mahloof appealed to for volunteers to come forward and assist in the battle against the virus that has been sweeping across the globe. This was to ensure that the citizens did not run out of essentials during such trying times. And shortly after the appeal was made, over 500 people quickly expressed their willingness to help.
As there was a high risk of spreading the virus through deliveries, the ministry and Health Protection Agency (HPA) put forward a set of guidelines the volunteers had to adhere to in the process. The volunteers were attached to certain shops across the city and their work began on April 18. Minister Mahloof was on the frontlines, leading the teams by example as he himself actively took part in the delivery process.
The shops had faced difficulties to deliver their goods with thousands of pending orders prior to this initiative from the ministry. Eventually, together with the hard work of volunteers, the burden on shops for deliveries was reduced. Even though there were few setbacks in the start, there is no doubt that the youth ministry and its team of volunteers have been doing a wonderful job during this time of need.
The ministry has also utilised facilities under them for COVID19 relief efforts. The accommodation block in Hulhumale' Football School is being used to provide accommodation for people who need emergency shelter. While the work on the facility was completed in a short period of time, Vice President Faisal Naseem has inspected the facility. The capital’s Social Center is also being used as a location for the distribution of necessary items for families in need.
Other work conducted by the youth ministry include in distributing dates donated by Saudi Arabiyya to the households registered as the lowest income families in Male' area. This work was undertaken upon request from Islamic Affairs Minister Ahmed Zahir Ali.
At this time of need youth ministry, gender ministry and UNICEF Maldives have been working to deliver care packages to families in need as listed by gender ministry. Youth ministry is tasked with delivering the packages with its civil staff and political appointees actively taking part in the efforts. The ministry's volunteer team has also been assisting in the delivery of medicines to the orders received by STO Pharmacy as well as ADK Pharmacy. The ministry has also been assisting various NGO's who have been actively participating in the relief efforts.
The youth ministry is also to begin psychosocial programmes along with recreational and entertainment programmes at the quarantine facility established in Gulhifalhu for expatriates.
The ministry has also assisted in the evacuation of hundreds Indian nationals stranded in Maldives, upon request from Indian High Commissioner Sunjay Sudhir. Further, the ministry has also partnered with UNDP Maldives and Oooredoo Maldives for Miyaheli Social Innovation Challenge held to tackle the challenges faced due to COVID19.
And while the country and the entire world continues the battle against coronavirus, the youth ministry has taken measures to complete its projects – launched prior to the pandemic – on time.
As such, it has completed the work on the football pitches in Nilandhoo and Holhudhoo island of Noonu atoll.
The ministry notes that the setbacks faced due to the pandemic will not stop them from completing the projects which have been contracted.
The staff of Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment across the country has shown immense courage during this unprecedented time with its staff actively working on the frontlines of the battle against this global enemy.