The pandemic has created immense challenges for people around the world. In Malawi, an extremely poor country in southern Africa, the situation is complicated by the fact that many residents don’t have access to services and supplies that Americans tend to take for granted. Nonprofit worker Gertrude Kabwazi shares her Brief But Spectacular take on working to break Malawi’s cycle of poverty.
Judy Woodruff: There are many things we take for granted in the U.S.
Tonight’s Brief But Spectacular features Gertrude Kabwazi, the country director for a nonprofit that is working to help people deal with COVID-19 and break the cycle of poverty in Malawi.
Gertrude Kabwazi: I am in Malawi, which is situated in the southern part of Africa.
The poverty levels in this country are very high. Almost 52 percent of the population is living under a dollar a day. These people are suffering more with COVID-19 because they are communities that were already struggling.
I work for an organization called Yamba Malawi. Our mission is to uplift the lives of vulnerable children by empowering communities to break the cycle of poverty.
Having grown in the village myself, I understand the challenges that people in the rural communities face every single day.
Malawi was very late to recognize COVID cases, simply because we didn’t have the facilities to test, but also because many people in Malawi do not have access to information. It was very difficult for those people who are in remote areas to understand what COVID is, but even what to do when they’re infected.
Nine out of 10 households do not have soap. And most of the community members do not have access to running water, clean water. They live in a one-room house. And there may be six to 10 members in that house.
So, isolation will be practically impossible. We are fearing that even the small gains that have been made through programs like Yamba Malawi, they are going to be eroded by the impact of the COVID-19.
Their savings are only minimal, and those savings can not last them that long. The community members themselves, they’re geared up to contribute something to deal with COVID-19 in whatever way they would love to.
The households that have something, they want to share with the other households that do not have something. So, it gives me hope that we are all more united than ever.
My name is Gertrude Kabwazi. This is my Brief But Spectacular take on empowering the people of Malawi during COVID-19.
Judy Woodruff: And thank you for reminding us of something that really matters.