[CROSSDEV] How Palestinian partner MIAK faced COVID-19?
The Fifth of March 2020 was a normal Thursday morning at Masar Ibrahim Al-Kalil’s office: busy as usual and with mobile phones ringing nonstop, team members at their desks or talking in the halls to plan meetings for the next days and weeks.
But is wasn’t a normal day. Three cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed in a hotel in the Bethlehem area. The news about the cases started spreading but everyone thought it was a rumor.
Shocked, everyone didn’t want to believe it is true, until the official media news agencies confirmed it. All MIAK’s employees were asked to go home, stay home, and work from home.
How long? Nobody could say.
At the beginning, the Palestinian government imposed movement restrictions between and within governorates, which totally restricted MAIK's work in the field side by side with our partners. This decision didn't come easy for the local CROSSDEV team, that had been working a lot in the previous six months with the local communities to motivate them, to start developing and preparing their villages and cities for community-based tourism.
How can we keep our partners motivated and not lose hope for a better future? That question was all we had in mind.
We adjusted the project plan to interact on social media so to stay in contact with our communities. We designed and disseminated awareness messages about COVID-19, shedding the light on our beautiful country, our cultural heritage, our historical sites, and at the same time encouraging people to stay home and be safe. That was the only way for everyone to help themselves and others.
Screenshots from the MIAK's Facebook campaign during Covid-19 emergency in Palestine, spring 2020
In addition to that, we started weekly virtual meetings between MIAK team and the local authorities’ coordinators. Every time we consulted with them on what should be our next step in their villages regarding the project activities, what they needed to see on the social media, how we could help... The coordinators were there with us step by step sharing their ideas and procedures so to help the communities to overcome the crisis.
Weekly virtual meetings with the communities during Covid-19 emergency in Palestine, spring 2020
Despite the pandemic MIAK managed to keep the motivation and the strength to keep doing what had been started. And we received positive feedbacks from our partners, who keep saying that they never stopped believing that CROSSDEV will help them revive their communities.
MIAK team had showed full commitment from the very beginning toward this project. Even during the pandemic, we never stopped working to make sure we could conduct as many activities as possible.
The motivation was there before, was there during the pandemic, and will be there after we manage to come out of it.
Together we are strong. Together we will create better opportunities for our communities.
Stay safe, be kind.
This article was written by Noor Hodaly, Masar Ibrahim Al-Kalil (MIAK) Communication Officer for CROSSDEV