OISCA International`s Response to Corona Virus Pandemic
In the weeks since millions of people across the world were advised or ordered to stay at home except for necessary errands to contain corona virus, we have been reaching out to quarantined communities. Our training centers which are mostly located in rural areas became focal points that providing hopes to locals suffering from food and water security. The members of our national and local chapters and our OISCA graduates are mobilizing their resources and networks to conduct awareness campaign on how to stay safe during the crisis and distributed handmade facemasks, hand sanitizers, and food supplies to help sustain healthy communities. Equipped with our local knowledge and networks, we are in a crucial position to help strengthen the resilience of the vulnerable communities.
In Northern Luzon, Philippines, the OISCA Abra Agro-Forestry Training Center collaborated with the local government and donated the training center`s agricultural produce such as vegetables, rice, rice cakes, and eggs to the quarantined communities and front liners (health care volunteers, police and military, nurses, and doctors).
In Sabah, Malaysia, the locals living near KPD-OISCA Training Center are grateful for the readily available fresh produce such as vegetables, rice, and chickens. Due to the government`s Movement Control Order (MCO), only 10 people from one village is allowed to go to town.
In Anuradhapura and Wariyapola, Sri Lanka, the members of our national chapters conducted awareness campaign on the importance and the proper way of using masks and distributed relief goods such as rice and canned goods among the locals.
The pure honey soaps made by the villagers supported by OISCA in Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand are promoted by OISCA Bangkok Office as a virus countermeasure.
In India, our local chapter in Hyderabad distributed hand sanitizers and cloth masks among the residents of Ranganayakula Gutta Colony while OISCA Chennai Chapter in association with OISCA Tamil Nadu conducted a COVID-19 relief camp and practiced social distancing as per protocol at Kottamedu Panchayat.
In Fiji, our staff our producing vegetable seedlings to distribute to the locals, particularly to those who were laid off from their tourism related jobs. After the country was hit by cyclone Harold on April 6, prices of vegetables have increase and there was a higher demand of our seedlings. Still working on the reconstruction of our nursery damaged by cyclone, we intend to scale-up our production and continue mobilizing our staff to provide technical assistance to the vulnerable communities.
In the central arid regions of Myanmar, OISCA is helping the local communities through the two training centers located in Magway and Mandalay. The country is currently at the hottest time of the year and the locals who are advised to stay at home due to corona have difficulty accessing water for household consumption. In Magway, staff and trainees mobilized the training center resources to distribute water to the communities affected by the water shortage. Handmade masks and training center produce were also given to the local communities. The locals living near the OISCA training center in Mandalay are enjoying fresh agricultural produce sold by the center.
The members of OISCA National Chapter in Mexico are mobilizing their networks and resources to assist in the production of protective equipment for the front liners. Amidst the pandemic, for sustainability, the chapter is continuously promoting the importance of small-scale family gardens among the local communities. Prior to corona crisis, the chapter has been mainstreaming the production of organic vegetables through hydroponic system in arid areas of Mexico.
Meanwhile, the school children supported by our Children Forest Program in Indonesia and our headquarters staff in Tokyo made posters with messages encouraging everybody to stay at home, constant hand washing, wearing of masks, and maintaining of social distancing.