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THE REALITY OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC: THE EXPERIENCE OF SELL VOLUNTEERS/YOUNG ADULT IN NORTH EAST AND PLATEAU STATE, NIGERIA

The outbreak of the Coronavirus also known as Covid-19 has created a global health crisis that has impacted deeply on the way we relate and perceive our world. In the last few months, the world has been affected, thousands of people have died and many more have fallen ill from the Coronavirus that was discovered in the City of Wuhan, China in December, 2019.

In Nigeria, the first case was confirmed by the federal ministry of health in Lagos State, on the 27thFebruary 2020, an Italian national who returned from Italy to the country. As days go by, the number of people tested positive for Covid-19 has continue to increase. Bauchi State where we are based is one among the States affected with the Virus. As at the time of writing this article, it was confirmed that Bauchi State had eight (8) confirmed cases.

 In the wake of this pandemic that has engulfed the whole world; the impact on human and economic resources is enormous. In the North East and Plateau States, the impact is felt much on economic activities backsliding and increasing crime rates.

To curtail the spread of the virus in Nigeria, some Governors have imposed curfews and issued lockdown directives within their States so as to avoid social gathering and unnecessary movements in order to enable the State Governments and health personnel monitor the situation. 

In line with the lockdown directives by the Federal and State Governments as advised by the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), some key activities of the SELL programme have been suspended till the situation is put under control. However, the Resource Team of SELL Foundation have continued to work from their homes as part of the measures taken to prevent the spread of the dreaded disease by social/physical distancing.

Working from home also involves reaching out to SELL Volunteers and other youth groups across the North East and Plateau State through virtual and online interactions. Our routine interactions are aimed at creating awareness and countering some of the myths that are being peddled around the communities. We have consistently encouraged our volunteers to make the best of the time while they stay at home. Gladly, some of the SELL community volunteers and young people within our catchment areas are utilizing in the “free period” and turning the pandemic into blessings in disguise. Many of our volunteers are pro-actively involved in community sensitization initiatives geared towards creating awareness of the dangers of Covid-19 pandemic. Some of them have also taken part in volunteering services making hand sanitizers, home-made facial masks and distribution of relief food to families that have been affected by the lockdown.

One may be wondering what impact could Covid-19 make as deadly as it is or rather what blessing could come from it?

Yes!  Coronavirus may be referred to as deadly virus to humans; it has brought the economies of most nations to the verge of collapsing. This has led to the sudden increase in prices of basic commodities and hunger in the society. However, one cannot fail to recognize the fact that it also has positive effects on individual and society especially the young people. This was confirmed in our interaction with some of our Volunteers who admitted that the positive aspect of the pandemic is as much as the negative. 

According to John Mark, a SELL volunteer in Jos, Plateau State “from my interaction and observation, I am able to see how the youths are suffering in Jos couple with the fact that there is total lockdown.  He added if this continues theft will be the order of the day. However, social gathering can be put on hold for a while but cannot be totally eradicated’’. He also added that Covid-19 pandemic/lockdown has strengthened family relationship.

Miss Emily Ranna Yinala, Communications officer SELL Foundation Nigeria also stated that the Lockdown has presented the youths with opportunity to be creative in their thinking. She added that the young people if given the space and support they will do exploits more which will bring development and restore hope to the community.

Mr.  Charles Wulki a SELL volunteer from Gombe State stated that in his community the young person’s came up with tight security measures and engage the youths on some form of transformational activities to keep them busy.

Mr. Herbert Matuka a SELL volunteer from Yola, Adamawa, community said the Coronavirus pandemic has both positive and negative impact. The virus has created fear in the minds of people and brings about the positive change in lifestyles. He added watching videos especially from areas much affected with the virus has made him ponder on his own personal life, what if it’s him that got affected with the virus? He further said the pandemic has demoralized many, he sees psychotherapist doing more work after the outbreak.

Charles Polok, Monitoring and Evaluation officer SELL Foundation Nigeria said the demands of work and meeting ends needs have separated him from friends, relatives and acquaintances. A few weeks of being alone has helped him to recollect his thoughts and bring back memories of those people.

Meanwhile, let us take seriously the precautionary measures as directed by the Federal Government and the Ministry of Health and continue praying for an end to this pandemic. The sooner it is over, the better for all of us.

Thanks for reading, stay safe at home, Covid-19 is real.

Written by Ms. Emily Ranna Yinala

Communications  officer SELL Foundation Nigeria.

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