Updates from the field #19: Helping countries to recover better together

Abdou, a Yemeni refugee in Amman, shops in one of the grocery after the reopening of small shops.
Caption: Abdou, a Yemeni refugee in Amman, shops at a local shop.
Photo: WFP/ Mohammad Battah

Given the scale and scope of COVID-19, under the leadership of the Resident Coordinators, UN teams, are working as one across all facets of the response. Today, 24 July 2020, we showcase some of the coordinated efforts across the globe to help countries recover from the health, social and economic shocks the pandemic has caused.


In Chad, where there are nearly 900 confirmed cases and more than 70 deaths. With the country planning to reopen, the UN team, led by Resident Coordinator, Violet Kakyomya, is helping to boost the capacity of emergency health centres to treat potential new patients while also supporting the socioeconomic recovery.

On the health front, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) provided a tent to the national civil aviation authority to quarantine passengers. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) has supplied beds, respirators, and other supplies to health centres, while the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) organized communication campaigns on infection prevention.

The UN team is also supporting the most vulnerable people, including refugees. UNHCR dug two new wells to avoid crowding at water stations and donated sanitizing supplies to refugee camps. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is conducting surveys to assess humanitarian needs, while UNDP is training law enforcement officers to prevent the spread of infection at correctional facilities.

On schools, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is training teachers on remote learning and has provided dozens of tents, GPS devices, and computers across the Lake Chad region.


In Djibouti, there are currently over 5,000 reported cases and more than 50 deaths due to COVID-19. In addition to addressing the immediate health needs, the UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Barbara Manzi, is supporting authorities to address the socioeconomic impacts and plan the reopening of borders and the back-to-school period.

UNICEF and UNHCR are providing thousands of cleaning supplies, protective and laboratory equipment, temporary shelter kits and oxygen concentrators, boosting the country’s prevention and treatment capacity. A key focus is to protect health workers and refugees.

Caption: In Obock, migrants received WASH materials and non-food items at the Masagara site.

Photo: IOM/Djibouti/2020

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is establishing screening areas and training government personnel on infection prevention and control measures at border crossings.

To bolster livelihoods and lift thousands of households impacted by COVID-19, including families with HIV patients, the World Food Programme (WFP) is providing food vouchers and UNICEF is transferring cash to families, as a temporary measure to prevent them from falling into poverty.

The World Health Organization (WHO), together with the Government and other local partners, is engaging youth in fighting COVID-19 and misinformation through online channels and hackathons. UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Education to develop the national back-to-school plan, also with tailored care and protection programmes for children without homes or living on streets.


In Guatemala, there are more than 38,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,400 deaths. The UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Rebeca Arias, is investing $1 million from the “Recover Better Fund”, the Secretary-General’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery Trust Fund, for immediate health and socio-economic needs, focusing on the most vulnerable people. 

With these funds, the Pan-American Health Organization have trained frontline healthcare workers. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UNICEF, IOM, UNHCR and UN Women are providing attention and care for women, including migrants and refugees, with distribution of food and mental health support.

Caption: UNICEF supports the Government to provide accommodation and services for youth.

Photo: Andrea Urrea

We are also helping the Government with people returning to Guatemala from Mexico and the United States, identifying those who have special protection needs. UNHCR is also screening and counseling these returnees and has provided housing units, beds, diapers and other supplies. 

The UN team is also helping to assess the social and economic impacts of the pandemic. With about half of all Guatemalan households depending on remittances, the impact of drastic reduction of these payments is especially worrying. 

For its part, the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) is supporting the Government to procure around $4 million in life-saving items, including 75,000 COVID-19 tests, 1.5 million items for surgical medical use, 47 million laboratory supply items, and essential medicine for COVID-positive patients.


In Jordan, where more than 1,200 confirmed cases have been reported and 11 deaths, the UN team, led by Resident Coordinator Anders Pedersen, launched its socioeconomic framework to boost a rapid and sustainable recovery from the impact of the virus. The economy is expected to contract 3.4 per cent, with a decrease in revenue of more than US $800 million recorded in April alone. Unemployment rates have risen, reaching 19 per cent, increasing child labour and hindering women’s participation in the workforce.The new socioeconomic framework is a roadmap for the UN’s work with the Government Jordan and partners to save lives and livelihoods, especially for women and children, strengthening inclusive social protection systems and boosting green and inclusive businesses.

Caption: Education for Employment and UN Women provide technical training and career guidance in Tafilah.

Photo: UN Women Jordan

For its part, UNDP  is boosting livelihoods in poor communities through $1.5 million in funding from Italy. In addition, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) is providing monthly cash assistance and support to refugees, including those with disabilities.

UNFPA is helping survivors of domestic violence, while UN Women is working with news outlets to address misinformation and better reporting on women and girls. The UN put out a statement expressing its shock and sadness over the violent killing of a young woman near her home, a crime allegedly perpetrated by her father. The UN is supporting the Government and civil society to provide safe referrals, services and justice to survivors of gender-based violence. They’re also working to scale up public awareness campaigns to eliminate violence in all forms.


In Somalia, where there have been more than 3,100 reported cases with 93 deaths due to COVID-19, Adam Abdelmoula is coordinating the UN’s health, humanitarian and socioeconomic response to the pandemic with the government and our partners. He is also working with the Secretary-General's Special Representative, James Swan. 

WHO, UNDP, WFP and the UN Support Office for Somalia helped boost testing capacity and supported health centres, hospitals and isolation centres in several areas.  

UNICEF trained more than 750 health care professionals to detect and manage COVID-19, and provided essential basic health services to more than 42,000 women and children.

Caption: UNICEF harnessed technology and put in place alternative learning platforms, reaching more than 95,000 children.


UNICEF also supported distance learning for more than 116,000 children, more than 40 per cent of them girls.  

More than 700,000 people also received critical water and sanitation supplies and services. Through the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 350,000 households benefited from mobile money cash assistance. WFP provided in-kind food and vouchers to more than 300,000 people to address chronic food insecurity.

With the Government and partners, the UN team also reached 10.9 million people through coordinated risk communication and community engagement initiatives. 

In addition to the COVID-19 response, the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia is urging a spirit of constructive compromise at a meeting between President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed 'Farmaajo' and all the leaders of Somalia’s Federal Member States. They are expected to have important discussions on national priorities, especially elections.

UN entities involved in this initiative
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
International Organization for Migration
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
United Nations Development Programme
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
United Nations Population Fund
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
United Nations Children’s Fund
United Nations Office for Project Services
World Food Programme
World Health Organization

Goals we are supporting through this initiative