Through a USD 750,000 grant from the United States, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Maldives has announced support for the Maldivian government’s Covid-19 response efforts.
In a press release on Wednesday, UNICEF noted that the grant will particularly provide assistance for schools and community spaces to reopen safely.
Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the USD 750,000 – approximately MVR 11.5 million – will be implemented by UNICEF in collaboration with the government.
In Maldives, and around the world, the United States is providing high-quality, critical, and meaningful assistance to save lives. Lending a helping hand during the worldwide pandemic is part of our enduring commitment to the health and wellness of Maldivians"
~ Alaina B. Teplitz, U.S. Ambassador to Maldives
As Maldives plans to re-open schools and public spaces, the USAID-funded grant will support community engagement focusing on parents, teachers, children, and adolescents.
Under the grant, water, sanitation, and hygiene supplies will be provided and the funds will also help strengthen effective infection control for the school reopening phase, which is expected in mid-August.
Further, the grant will improve national data collection and analysis tools to support policy decisions for the well-being of Maldivian children and youth.
We thank the United States for this generous contribution at a critical moment in the pandemic. As lockdown measures are relaxed and services are due to gradually reopen, our efforts need to be scaled up to avoid a new surge of infections. This support from the United States comes just at the right moment for UNICEF to continue to provide critical support to the Government of Maldives, and it will ensure that some of the most vulnerable people including children and young people are protected from Covid-19"
~ Dr. Munir A. Safieldin, UNICEF Representative in the Maldives
UNICEF Maldives highlighted that the partnership with USAID is part of a strong and what will be a long-lasting collaboration to support Maldives as it recovers from COVID-19.
Established to promote the rights and wellbeing of every child, UNICEF is stationed in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
Although schools in the region were to be reopened on August 9, the decision was reversed on Tuesday and schools across the Greater Malé Region will remain closed until August 19, authorities revealed on Tuesday.
The decision comes in light of the alarming increase in Covid-19 cases in the island nation of recent, and is based on recommendations by the Health Protection Agency (HPA).
All schools and educational institutions were closed across the Maldives due to the pandemic, however, schools were reopened across islands free of Covid-19, with the exemption of the capital region on July 1, under the third phase of the lockdown ease plan.