In March, 2020 the Global First Ladies Alliance joined forces with the END Fund to provide First Ladies’ Offices additional expertise, partnerships, and tools to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in Africa during a four-month rapid response program. Through this program, GFLA and the END Fund, in partnership with global health and gender equality experts, provided technical assistance and capacity-building opportunities through two Technical Advisor Meetings, and raised awareness of First Ladies’ efforts. The Global First Ladies Alliance continues to support First Ladies, First Partners, and local leaders locally and globally in their efforts to prevent the spread in their communities and address the socio-economic consequences, and disproportionate impact on women and children. Partners include the END Fund, The Access Challenge One By One: Target COVID-19, COVID Local, Columbia University, and UNICEF among others.
Technical Advisor Meetings
In April and May, GFLA, the END Fund, global health and gender equality experts, convened Technical Advisors from nine First Ladies’ Offices for an interactive discussion on effective communication and coordination, strategy shifting, and gender-responsive programming. African countries are taking rapid and critical actions to mitigate the pandemic’s social and economic impact on communities, with First Ladies playing an important role, individually and collectively. As Mothers of their Nations, First Ladies provide compassionate and moral leadership, instilling trust and stability among their populations. The nature of their leadership and broad networks make them invaluable to any crisis response and public awareness campaign about preventive measures.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Priorities, Lessons Learned, and Best Practices
For First Ladies, the pandemic is adding urgency to their existent priorities to help ensure access to health services, education, entrepreneurship, and food programs, especially among marginalized and vulnerable groups. First Ladies’ Offices are currently shifting focus to prioritize immediate needs (e.g., protection of healthcare workers), while ensuring the continuation of ongoing services (e.g., sexual and reproductive rights, HIV/AIDS, Neglected Tropical Diseases, and Non-Communicable Diseases).