PERSONAL STORY 3
On Friday the 29th of May we had a Video Call with Henry from the Live Now Foundation.
On Friday the 29th of May we had a Video Call with Henry from the Live Now Foundation. First, we talked about Henry's private life. Henry says he's got a really nice job. It's a tough job but he takes that for granted because he loves to help people. The foundation offers the facilities for very poor people. They also have access to school, free healthcare and education. There is even a location where they offer ICT school. Henry's job is to help people, and that's his dream. Henry's tasks depend very much on the day. At the moment the clinic and the school are closed. In addition, they have a morgue which they are still busy with at the moment. Right now, they've got quite a few bodies in the cool cell. So, Henry's tasks depend very much on what happens and which projects are running.
Then we discussed how things are going in Ghana now. Henry said most shops and restaurants are closed. People keep 1 to 2 meters away from each other to do everything possible to reduce the rate of the spread of the virus. The minibuses driving in Ghana went from 16 to 8 passengers. The number of infections is much higher in Accra than in the villages. Every Sunday, the country waits for their president's speech (updates on state of the country and measures to prevent spread). Almost every public space that people enter is controlled. Before people enter the room, their temperature is taken to check if it's not above the normal range. If the temperature is too high, you will not be allowed to enter the room. These people, would be asked to visit the hospital for other tests to be done and if they are suspected of having the virus they could possibly go to an isolation center. Wearing face masks and gloves in public areas is also mandatory.
If the rules are not obeyed properly, even the police can intervene to close down the public space if necessary. About two weeks ago there was a total lockdown in the big cities, in Accra and in Kumasi. But now everything's OK again, but not all the big social places yet. This is in lock down because they want to make sure everything is okay before they open it again. But that's OK because there's no more total lockdown. Everyone is required to wear a facemask and gloves as soon as you go to public places. Also, the rule about keeping a distance from each other is still in force. These measures all have consequences for the foundation. The consequences of this for the foundation are that people come to the Clinic less quickly than before. People only come when they're really, really sick. And before people are allowed to enter the Clinic, they also have to wear facemasks. A positive point of the virus is that there are not so many cases of armed robbery and there are far fewer car accidents.
It is well known that people have to wash their hands a lot. But Henry says they can't provide everyone with [liquid] soap. This depends on the resources. Because the poor cannot afford the liquid soap, they have to use the ordinary bar soap which sometimes they don't use well because instead of rubbing it in their hands under the running some just touch it lightly and then rinse their hands under water. In addition, they could provide everyone with all the stuff but if people don't know how to use it, it becomes difficult. So, they explain to these people how to handle hand-washing. The main focus is on what people have access to and this is then managed. Henry expects that the Coronavirus will change Ghana in the future.
The virus has a major impact and it's a shock to the whole world. As far as they know now it's going to change a lot in the future. An example: no one is producing anymore. The markets are shut down. Because of this Ghana has to import a lot of stuff, which will also increase the costs. At Henry's foundation the work can fortunately continue but he told the following about other NGOs: Henry used to work for another organization called "Project Abroad". They rely on the volunteers. Many volunteers from other countries come to this organization. Now with the virus, these volunteers won't come. Which means that if there are no volunteers there will be no work for the people of the organization while these people do have to be paid. In addition, many projects are also at a standstill because, for example, schools are also closed.
NGOs should probably close. How the future will look further depends on many factors. Whether organizations can be more sustainable depends on the specialization of the NGO. For Henry's Foundation, they have the school, the morgue and the volunteer programs. So, they don't just depend on the volunteers. So, there are NGOs where this is the case. It is also possible that one program is dependent on the other program, which will get you into trouble if the volunteers cannot come. It is also often the case that volunteers bring donations with them. These donations are not there at the moment and NGOs are often not able to keep going. They're trying to find a way to survive. But with separate projects like Henry's Foundation, this is still going well (Dekyem, 2020)
Dekyem, H. (2020, April). Impact COVID-19 on Live Now Foundation. (A. Engberink, E. Gnodde, & W. Wonder, Interviewers)