The apex bodies of the private sector and civil society organizations met virtually on 29th May 2020 through MS TEAMS. The half-day meeting was attended by representatives of the East African Civil Society Organizations Forum(EACSOF), the East Africa Law Society (EALS), the East African Local Government Association (EALGA) and the East African Health Platform (EAHP) and chaired by Mrs Martha Makenge, Ag. Executive Director of EACSOF. Besides discussing the agenda for the upcoming Regional Dialogue Committee (RDC) meeting and a joint response to COVID19 of the apex bodies to mitigate the pandemic, the meeting developed a joint work plan for IIDEA for the period June 2020 to June 2021.
Mrs Generose Minani, Principal Gender and Community Development Officer, EAC, commended the apex bodies of the RDC for the strategic approach they have taken to continue working and complementing government efforts during theCovid-19 crisis and lockdown situation. She urged them to push the implementation of the consultative Dialogue Framework (CDF) in the region while scaling up their responses to the Coronavirus crisis. She informed the meeting that the Social Sectors Directorate had developed a draft response on mitigation and adaptation for children and young people, developed a regional health, nutrition, education and social protection plan and was forming a regional gender based working group to address the gender-based violence and its related effects on the key groups in the region. She further urged the apex bodies to embrace virtual meetings to conduct their business while coping with the lockdown and post Covid-19.
“IIDEA partners are proactively continuing work, adjusting project initiatives, plans, and in addition providing responses to mitigate Covid-19. We can see that despite difficulties, regional organisations focus on finding solutions, in particular to secure the provision of services and trade in food products and also using new digital technologies supported by various regional EAC-GIZ projects,” said Dr Kirsten Focken, Cluster Coordinator, GIZ-EAC Programme. “IIDEA supports private sector and civil society organisations to engage in the implementation of the EAC Common Market. IIDEA partners have also contributed to the mitigation of COVID-19 through awareness and behavioral change mechanisms. Some examples are the dissemination of information and communication materials on Corona virus to citizens, digitally marketed women and youth enterprises producing health protective equipment such as masks and sanitizers and the mapping of health facilities along borders relevant for providing care support to COVID-19 patients for the border communities,” Dr Focken added.