U.S. Government Launches New Youth-led COVID-19 Campaign

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A community relay part of the Xeex Corona team giving a reusable mask to a youth after explaining the barrier measures. SunuElection, USAID
A community relay part of the Xeex Corona team giving a reusable mask to a youth after explaining the barrier measures.
SunuElection, USAID

For Immediate Release

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), continues supporting the Government of Senegal’s efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19. USAID’s Democracy and Governance program is working with civil society organizations to  launch “Xeex Corona”  (“fight coronavirus” in Wolof), a new, youth-led COVID-19 community engagement campaign targeting marketplaces, mosques, and households in Dakar, the epicentre of the pandemic in Senegal.

Xeex Corona, which debuted this week (Aug. 13), is a community engagement initiative designed to encourage youth to respect health measures, such as physical distancing and mask wearing.

From the onset of the outbreak of the disease, USAID/SunuElection (“our election”) has redirected funds as part of USAID support to the Government of Senegal's COVID-19 response. SunuElection has been supporting activities focusing on engaging more Dakar communities through awareness raising campaigns, masks, and hydroalcoholic gel distribution, and promoting the adoption of barrier measures.

Through Xeex Corona, nearly 100 “community relays” and key actors will be deployed to Dakar region neighborhoods, markets, bus stations to raise awareness, encouraging communities to follow the health instructions delivered by authorities, and distribute hygiene kits and more than 15,000 masks.

U.S. Ambassador Mushingi delivered a recorded video message marking the launch, recognizing the youth’s dedication and commitment in this collective effort to raise awareness to stop the spread of the disease.

Emphasising the Government of Senegal’s call for more community engagement, the Ambassador said that the activity is the U.S. Government’s way of encouraging youth involvement in the response. He also recalled that “it is through such initiatives and the respect of barrier measures that the pandemic can be defeated.”

Ambassador Mushingi concluded by calling on young people and women in Dakar neighborhoods to replicate such initiatives while respecting barrier measures.

Since the outbreak, USAID has provided an additional $3.9 million (2.2 billion FCFA) in new financial support for the health sector and redirected more than $2 million (1.1 billion FCFA) from other development sectors and health activities to respond to the coronavirus.

For decades, the United States has been the world's largest contributor to global health security and humanitarian assistance, putting countries like Senegal in a better position to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past 20 years in Senegal alone, the United States has invested more than $2.8 billion (1.6 trillion FCFA), including nearly $880 million (500 billion FCFA) in health assistance.