Our Response to COVID-19 Pandemic: Be Safe, Be Smart, Be Kind

To the enke Community, friends and supporters,

As we all navigate new challenges in our lives and communities, we would like to update you on enke’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are taking immediate action to ensure the safety of our staff, partners, and the communities we serve, while also looking at ways to adapt and innovate in response to this new reality.

We are closely monitoring global developments on COVID-19 and following recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) and the Government of South Africa. As you may know, the President of South Africa declared COVID-19 a National Disaster and the government has published strict guidelines on social distancing, travel restrictions and other measures to be followed by all nationally. As the situation evolves, our leadership team is holding regular briefings to swiftly determine the best course of action for our staff and programs.

Our response to this unprecedented global challenge is grounded in three core principles:

  • Be Safe: Follow national and global guidelines on Social Distancing and Good Hygiene
    1. To protect our current and future program participants: we have suspended all face-to-face training and activities until the end of April (date may be updated based on government instructions). We continue remote and digital support of all participants that are currently in our Programs, providing resources for them to stay on track with schooling (Trailblazer and YANDISA Programs) and their business activity (Catalyst and Business on a Bicycle Programs).
    2. To protect our people: we have suspended domestic and international travel, reduced face-to-face interaction as much as possible with our entire team by working from home and holding in-person meetings only if it is deemed essential. We have provided our team members with the resources and equipment needed to support effective work from home and are in daily contact over various online communication channels to monitor individual physical and mental wellbeing during these difficult times. 
    3. To protect our partners: we have cancelled all external events until the end of April and will be rescheduling meetings to occur online. We are also connecting and working collaboratively with other organisations to learn and exchange with others on how to work effectively in these new circumstances. 
    4. To protect our communities & country: we have provided sanitiser, gloves and other materials to our staff in case they or their families need to travel locally. We are also actively sharing and supporting those who are communicating essential updates on the COVID-19 and health advice especially on our social media channels. A plan is also underway to mobilise and support our program participants to work with us in spreading the message of hygiene and safety in their home communities. 
  • Be Smart: Finding creative and innovative ways to provide support to our participants, people and the wider community to #flattenthecurve
    1. Creative ways to support participants and our community  – we are using all the resources and mechanisms (phone, SMS, Facebook, Whatsapp etc.) we have developed and worked on over the years to stay virtually/remotely connected with our participants and community. 
    2. Working virtually and remotely – we are integrating and innovating as rapidly as possible to better how we work, train and support virtually and remotely. 
    3. Sharing facts – we will be doing our best to share facts and verified information/updates regularly on all our social media pages.
  • Be Kind: Live our purpose of equipping young people with the tools to thrive, by continuing to step up, help each other and support our communities:
    1. Keep our team and community healthy by making sure they (and their families) know how to avoid infection and can access information for treatment if needed.
    2. Protect the confidentiality of anyone who want to ask a question, share information or raise concerns
    3. Live our values and remember that we all have a responsibility to do our part, to step up and lead and support others in our communities, teams and country. 

How to get in touch with enke during COVID-19 Virtual Measures: 

Amid the uncertainty, we believe community is our greatest strength and we can work together to support each other during the challenging times of this pandemic. With optimism, we also realise that times of hardship often also generate creativity and innovation. While applying the principles of Be Safe, Smart and Kind, we continue to do our best to see what opportunities may emerge to prepare even more youth with the skills and tools to achieve their full potential and thrive.

We send our best wishes to all for health and peace of mind.

All our best (and big HONKS!),

Rufaro and the enke Team

Thank you to iThemba Projects for producing this informational video (English text, isiZulu audio)