The Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) has allocated US$2m in funds directed towards combating the COVID-19 pandemic across southern Africa. Based on in-depth incountry assessments and robust analyses, we have mapped out six (6) key entry points that will define our contribution. These include:
1. Disseminating credible information and awareness raising;
2. Supporting and influencing access to testing and health care for all;
3. Influencing the development and adequate financing of disaster preparedness and response plans by governments;
4. Mitigating socio-economic effects of COVID-19 on states and citizens;
5. Enhancing transparency and accountability in the management and utilisation of funding for the COVID-19 response;
6. Ensuring the gendered protection of human rights during this time, especially on women, children and marginalized groups.
Working together with a range of agile, diverse and established partners in all eleven (11) countries where we work, we will ensure that citizens access necessary testing; health workers are adequately trained and have access to personal protective equipment; governments are held accountable for their response to the pandemic, including the fostering transparency on the handling and management of all cases; and that fundamental human rights and livelihoods are protected. While we acknowledge and understand the necessity of national lockdowns as a way of containing the spread of COVID-19, we reiterate our call that authorities across southern Africa are still required to respect the fundamental rights of citizens within this context. We strongly condemn the use of force against citizens, as recently seen in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Lesotho, South Africa and Zimbabwe. During lockdowns, governments are obliged to ensure that citizens are able to access food, water, energy, health, justice and other services.
Our response is triggered by the demands of this crisis and driven by our commitment to the values of open and democratic societies. Beyond this initial US$2m, we are also working towards mobilising additional resources that can be used to further the fight against COVID19. In this regard, we are leveraging not only our finances but also, existing partnerships at global, national and community level, relationships with state and non-state actors, including the media.
OSISA is a growing African institution committed to deepening democracy, protecting human rights and enhancing good governance in the region. Our vision is to promote and sustain the ideals, values, institutions and practices of open society, with the aim of establishing vibrant and tolerant southern African democracies in which people, free from material and other deprivation, understand their rights and responsibilities and participate actively in all spheres of life. Established in 1997, OSISA works in eleven (11) southern African countries: Angola, Botswana, DRC, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. We work differently in each of these eleven countries, according to local conditions. – www.osisa.org