Covid 2020 pandemic as seen by women, testimonies from abroad
Arriving in Senegal in January of this year, Joan was not yet fully aware of the effects related to Covid-19 a pandemic that arrived from China and then spread to the rest of the world. The Italian cooperator, however, had begun receiving “not at all reassuring news from family and friends who remained in Italy,” as well as a lot of information, of all kinds, about a pandemic that was predicted to decimate Europe and wipe the African continent off the face of the earth.
“In contrast to the panic that erupted in Europe and America, countries where I felt there was so much fear and sadness, Africa, and Senegal in particular, had a relevant and ‘brilliant’ response. I have seen a people, in the face of illness, react with determination and a strong faith to illuminate their present. This has allowed me, away from my family to face illness and death with greater strength, a path that had already begun when I was living in Africa and made me stronger, ” he says several months after the start of this pandemic. Joan says that she perceived new emotional mechanisms in the face of the pandemic, and that she dealt with this new form of terrorism coming from Europe by devoting herself to her work commitment. ” I had to work by limiting my outings and interacting remotely with my partners. At home, our services enabled us to experience isolation with peace of mind. Telecommuting, sports and music punctuated our lockdown days.
A deafening silence fell at night, interrupted from time to time by the passage of patrol cars determined to enforce the curfew that was in effect from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. It was also a time of concern for us because dealing with a medical emergency, ” Giovanna recalls.
The stigma and lack of responsibility of some toward foreigners from countries such as France or Italy, “made us a bit skeptical and worried at first,” he continues, “But strong determination and awareness quickly moved us away from these thoughts.
Today Joan praises the Senegalese’s ability to mobilize and raise awareness. However, he regrets that he could not do more for Talibé children during the pandemic. According to her, there was still a lot of work to be done for these kids left to fend for themselves on the streets.
“I am not planning to go to Italy for the time being, the second wave of Covid-19 does not reassure us and living in quarantine in my country would do me more harm than good. And, with the positive turn of the project, I don’t want to run the risk of not returning and leaving the many people who have shown enthusiasm without an opportunity to
innovate, ” says Joan. And there, she emphasizes the strength and great capacity of women “I look forward to rediscovering that human warmth, the emotions reflected in their eyes, in short, the human relationship. The web can be efficient and effective, but also dangerous and negative for human relationships, ” Giovanna concludes.
OFFICE ADMINISTRATION MOZAMBIQUE
The pandemic caused by COVID-19 and the social distancing measures taken in the country and around the world have created new ways of living within families, some positive but others less so. Women in Mozambique, especially the poorest, have been affected in a variety of ways: they have lost their jobs, they have found themselves without services such as daycare centers and schools, and there has been an increase in domestic violence. This is to mention only a few worsening of the condition of women. For much of the 2020s in Mozambique, quarantine or social isolation was an obligatory reality for all of society, but no man could make this situation less burdensome for women: although men tried to help and cooperate in household chores by taking care of the children, for women this was all a due and expected obligation, something that all of society expected of women without their being able to object.
For me in particular, the isolation also had positive aspects: it was an experience to get to know, experience and learn from my family. Work and school routines decreased, so I had more time to be with them and sharing household commitments. The pandemic, in a way, allowed me to get to know my husband and children better. As for work, the famous ‘home office’ was considered an advantage because we could do everything from home, but after four months we saw that it was necessary to find private spaces for work and study, and to establish clear boundaries between home, family and work hours. “The impact of COVID-19 and the resulting social distancing is most penalizing for women, and this is a consequence of the cultural machismo that is present in Mozambique, just think of the amount of tasks and jobs that women have to do, domestic violence, mental overload (often invisible but present), and the fact that women have always been responsible for caring for all family members.”
JOURNALIST CORRESPONDENT SENEGAL
During this pandemic, women have found themselves in exceptional situations: loss of income, visible inequalities, increasing domestic violence. Covid-19 has had a great impact on their social life, however, we must recognize that resilience has a female face in cities as well as in rural areas. New talents were showcased through culinary arts, writing, working with local products, modeling and crafts, and home delivery.
Some who had never touched a keyboard mastered the computer tool to better open themselves to the world of development. The women organized themselves into micro-enterprises and engaged in the making of fabric masks, production of hydroalcoholic gels. For most of them, this pandemic was an opportunity to balance power and invite the collective consciousness to learn from this scourge.
Today Senegalese women say they have fulfilled their roles, but they aspire for more leadership and strength to better address some of the paradigms that have emerged during this pandemic.
Children’s Minister Teresa Martinez said that cases of child and adolescent abuse increased during the pandemic. He stressed that the educational issue must be emphasized to prevent this kind of crime. “We have very high statistics, more than 3,000 cases per year. Cases have increased, even in this pandemic.
Confinement has meant more violence against children, except that they are not visible because they don’t go out.” He claimed that complaints are received daily at the Ministry of Children and Adolescents (MINNA) about these kinds of events and stressed that “the numbers don’t lie.” The Ministry is moving through a strong campaign against child and adolescent abuse called “Ñañangareko,” as 32 percent of cases end in pregnancy. He also indicated that the educational issue is a key factor in prevention.
“There is also a positive phenomenon for us, after the campaigns that are being done and also the work that is being done, those who are reporting the most are the neighbors, which means that people already see it as something to take action on.
We need this to be denatured,” Martinez added. The minister regretted that cases of child and adolescent abuse are viewed by many people “as something that is part of the culture because it is an aberration,” because it cannot be “normal” to see a 40-year-old man shacking up with a 14-year-old girl. “A pregnant teenager is a life cut short.”