COVID-19: Our Rural Response


Earlier in January 2020, an outbreak of a new coronavirus disease in Hubei Province, China was declared by the World Health Organization to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Consequently, the WHO stated then that there is a high risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading to other countries.

Furthermore, during the 2014 Ebola epidemic, IIRR’s partnerships with DFID and UNICEF are vital in strengthening rural health systems. Similarly, other infectious disease outbreaks have required us to provide training to our partners such as World Vision, Save the Children, Care International to assist us in reaching the most marginalised.

IIRR’s Capacity to Respond

Importantly, our sixty years of experience allows us to deliver effective long-terms support after disasters. As a result, we are bolstering our response efforts to the COVID-19 crisis. Specifically, focusing on health, livelihoods, and disaster risk management within vulnerable communities.

IIRR’s priority areas of work and range of activities for COVID-19 Rural Response



Above all, we are committed to supporting the global fight against the coronavirus. Below are our plans are gearing forward to respond in areas that may include but are not limited to:

Community-managed Disaster Risk Reduction

IIRR will support rural communities in understanding their hazards and vulnerabilities using the CMDRR approach for preparedness and risk management. For instance, our activities include:

  • CMDRR training, workshops and consultation
  • Community-managed Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis, through risk mapping, establishing early warning systems
  • Community-managed Emergency Response
  • Strengthening capacities to cope and bounce back with the risks, for instance organising and training of village responders, contingency planning, scenario and planning
Strengthen supply chains and improve livelihoods

IIRR will provide assistance to help rural communities in restoring and protecting their livelihoods.  Most importantly, focusing on smallholder farmers, and women and youth entrepreneurs to cope with economic stresses. Our support includes:

  • Distributing farming materials such as seeds, small livestock, farm tools
  • Providing technical advice on farm planning to promote crops production for the local markets
  • Linking to new markets and buyers without the intermediaries
  • Establishing capital stimulation packages as safety nets to ensure economic recovery for women who are most affected
  • Working with women and youth to improve the use of digital tools for businesses and marketing
  • Improving ICT based Business Continuity preparedness planning
  • Advocating for women and youth Recovery Friendly-products through policy interventions
  • Linkages and access to Financial Recovery Funds
Establish village health and nutrition services

Currently, IIRR is working towards establishing effective and sustainable services to improve the nutrition and health status of rural communities. As a result, our activities include:

  • Conducting Information, Education, Communication (IEC) campaigns on COVID-19 prevention
  • Strengthening WASH behaviour via change communication. For example, establishing emergency water supply and hand-washing facilities in villages, capacity-building to ensure village-based health workers can do primary health care work: IEC, monitoring, isolating the sick, promotion of WASH, etc.
  • Training village health workers
  • Raising awareness to promote a healthy lifestyle using social media and digital platforms
  • Building and equipping of village health facilities
Food security and strengthen local food systems

IIRR is addressing community-level food security and strengthening community nutrition amid lockdowns and markets on a standstill. Activities are geared towards:

  • Promoting and advocating Regenerative Agriculture as part of livelihood early recoveries
  • Moreover, creating courses, workshops, and training programmes on Regenerative Agriculture facilitated by a sought-out expert in the field
  • Strengthening local food systems by establishing home and community garden
  • Distributing seeds, seedlings and planting materials to the community

Please read the President’s message on COVID-19 here.

Subsequently, just as we continue to look out for vulnerable communities whose hardships are expected to expand with the current health crisis, we would like to share the published pieces related to the pandemic below and we welcome you to share with your networks.

In addition, if you are considering a partnership, send an email to or if you would like to contribute directly to our COVID-19 Rural Response Fund, then click here to DONATE

Let’s come together to protect the most vulnerable

Read what we have to say on COVID-19 impact on published articles and blogs below.

Rural areas at risk during COVID-19 pandemic

Lancet interview with IIRR President on taking a systematic approach in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, and other challenges faced by rural communities.

Opinion: Support rural, women-led entrepreneurs amid the COVID-19 pandemic

IIRR Regional Director wrote a compelling article in Devex on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting female entrepreneurs in Africa.

Growing your food in the coronavirus crisis

IIRR advocates Regenerative Agriculture techniques that will help arrest environmental degradation and for households to attain food security amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nutrition-sensitive food aid to fight COVID-19

The Community Nutrition Project for the First 1000 Days (CNP-F1K) spearheaded by IIRR is encouraging households to eat nutritiously while on lockdown to strengthen the immune system.