The COVID-19 global pandemic reached the Sahel and Lake Chad region on February 27th when a first case was recorded in Nigeria.
The EUTF, to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on SLC countries, quickly reacted by reorienting some of its funding towards a COVID-19 response.
A total of 39 projects redirected funds amounting to €67M for the COVID-19 response, and 31 projects for COVID-related activities have been implemented as of June 30th, 2020 for a total of €52M.
Thanks to these actions, 923,177 COVID-related supplies were distributed to the populations of the Sahel and Lake Chad regions.
571,770 people benefitted from the delivery of COVID-19 emergency response activities such as medical treatment or equipment, food aid and training.
Capacity building, medical equipment and risk communication were provided to 696 MSMEs, health and training centers and government institutions.
In order to better understand the size of the challenge and the changes to be implemented as a response to the pandemic, COVID-19 related indicators were added to the list of indicators.
The report therefore contains a revised list of EUTF Common Output Indicators. More information on the impact of these changes can be found in a dedicated section and annex.
The report clearly shows that despite the operational challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID-19 in the region, that EUTF projects have continued to deliver significant results in all key spheres of intervention of the Trust Fund in both the first and second quarters of 2020.
Greater economic and employment opportunities
Job creation, the quality of jobs created, and economic opportunities remain of primary concern in the Sahel Lake Chad region despite the COVID-19 crisis, and the EUTF has striven to accelerate formal and informal job creation with a special focus on youth and women.
During the first half of 2020, more than 13,000 new jobs and nearly 4,200 MSMEs were created and/or supported, bringing the respective totals up to this point close to 52,300 and 12,000.
As of June 2020 some 212,000 people were assisted to develop income-generating activities, including nearly 23,500 during S1 2020.
More than 12,500 beneficiaries of professional training (TVET) and skill development programmes were reported in S1 2020, bringing the total to 88,700.
Finally, 42 industrial parks and/or business infrastructures were constructed, expanded, or improved in the first half of 2020 raising the total to 339.
Strengthening resilience of communities
The situation in the SLC deteriorated rapidly in the first half of 2020 due to upsurges in conflicts, frequent climatic hazards, and the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, , causing humanitarian needs to reach unprecedented levels.
In the first half of 2020, resilience-building activities remained those with the largest numbers of beneficiaries. The number of people receiving food security-related assistance saw a 32% increase in S1 2020, with 384,446 beneficiaries reported for a total achievement of 1,6 million.
The number of people reached by sensitisation campaigns on resilience-building practices and basic rights witnessed an unprecedented increase, mainly due to COVID-19 campaigns, with 15 million new beneficiaries in S1 2020, an eight-fold increase compared to the total reached at the end of 2019.
Improved migration management in countries of origin, transit and destination
More than 12 000 voluntary returns of migrants were supported in the first semester of 2020 and more than 11 000 benefitted from poste-arrival or reintegration assistance in the same period. Close to 1,7 million beneficiaries were reached by information campaigns on migration since the beginning of EUTF activities with 203 000 people reached in the first semester of 2020.
Improved governance and conflict prevention and reduction of forced displacement and irregular migration
So far, more than 1 million people have participated in conflict prevention and human rights activities, 127,400 of them in the first semester of 2020.
EUTF activities have also developed and/or supported 108 strategies, laws, policies and plans in the first half of 2020, for a total of 975 since the start of EUTF activities.
New COVID-19 related indicators
In February 2020, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions began to impact the lives of millions of migrants and vulnerable populations living there. To mitigate the impact of the pandemic, several projects, in agreement with the EUTF, quickly reallocated funds and reoriented activities towards a COVID-19 response.
As of the end of June 2020, more than 570, 000 people have benefitted directly from COVID-19 activities – including, for example, psychosocial support, shelter assistance and economic or medical aid.
Moreover close to 923,200 pandemic-related supplies, such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and hospital equipment, have been distributed in the region.