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The COVID-19 Pandemic


From 1999 to 2019, a massive humanitarian effort successfully reduced the number of people living in extreme poverty worldwide by more than 1 billion people. Sadly, the  impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic threaten to wipe out a decade of that hard won progress. As a result, the World Bank recently raised its estimate for the number of people expected to fall into extreme poverty.

The developing countries are responding to COVID-19 in similar ways worldwide. Measures to prevent spread of COVID-19 include lockdowns, travel restrictions, curfews, school closings, mask mandates, and gatherings banned. These measures are particularly difficult in the developing countries that were already struggling.

Lockdowns imposed to contain the virus cause loss of livelihood to daily wage earners already living from hand to mouth. Travel bans prevent seasonal work in rural areas. Farmers are unable to sell their products with the markets closed. These necessary COVID-19 restrictions have contributed to famines and malnutrition over large areas of Africa. In such fragile context, any further shocks, such as new COVID-19 variants, could push a significant number of people into destitution and starvation.

The pace of COVID-19 recovery will be much slower, likely lasting into 2023, in places which lack modern infrastructure. With poor access to medical care and inability to afford coronavirus testing and vaccines, they cannot beat the pandemic without international help.


BAOBAB STRONG has modified our projects in Africa for what is feasible and what is most helpful during the pandemic.  For example, we are purchasing handmade masks and soap – the most basic of necessities – and distributing them to medical professionals and people in need. We are also using this time of school closing to support school maintenance and improvements using small groups of socially distanced workers.

During these difficult times of COVID-19, your help is most needed and appreciated.

Goals & Current Projects

COVID-19 Mask and Soap Project
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BAOBAB STRONG is distributing COVID-19 masks and much needed soap to medical professionals and those most in need. The masks are locally made using multi-layer fabric. The soap consists of blocks that can be used for hand washing and laundering of the masks.

Hundreds of these items have been delivered to the St Lukes / Ken Maur community, Bambanani Community Health Group, Zamani Primary School, Jotsholo Clinic and others in rural Zimbabwe.


Masks save lives!

The need for masks and soap was emphasized by those BOABAB STRONG has helped. An Environmental Health Technician (EHT) from the Mdlankunzi Clinic near Lupane, Zimbabwe wrote:

It was discovered that when old people are coming for medical attention at the facility, most of them had a tendency of borrowing masks from those coming out of the institution, not complying with COVID -19 regulations. Others had their mouth covered with what they are wearing, eg jerseys, and others with torn pieces of cloth which hardly covers the mouth hence old aged being the target.

Those who received masks seemed to appreciate. Thanks for the donations.

– G. K.

The EHT also indicated that older people with chronic conditions are a targeted group to receive vaccinations. While at the clinics, health information is given to them, BAOBAB STRONG masks and soap are distributed, and handwashing techniques are demonstrated. Recipients practice these safety measures.​​

BAOBAB STRONG thanks our donors for making this project possible.

Lupane Primary School Fence Project
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Our mission at BAOBAB STRONG is to strengthen people living in poverty by supporting quality education and fostering healthy communities. Towards this goal, we have built new schools, helped rebuild old schools, and supported existing schools with maintenance and upgrades to basic infrastructure.

As schools closed around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to continue making valuable school improvements. The Lupane Primary School Fence Project is a great example of this.

The Lupane Primary School is an essential school in the rural village of Lupane in western Zimbabwe. BAOBAB STRONG founding member Catherine Gumbo attended this school as a child. In recent years, some parts of the school have fallen into disrepair and maintenance has become an urgent concern. The first line of security at the school is the fence that surrounds the grounds. The old perimeter fencing became dilapidated and unable to protect the students, teachers and school grounds from roaming livestock, wild animals, and intruders. BAOBAB STRONG was asked to help.

With support from BAOBAB STRONG donors, a new perimeter fence has been built at Lupane Primary School. Securing the grounds with new fencing excited and motivated the community, who joined in to help. We are grateful to all the local volunteers who participated in building the fence. After pulling the old metal fence posts from the ground, then cleaning and repainting them, considerable cost was saved by reusing old fence posts. Once the refurbished posts were back in the ground, support wires were tightly stretched between them, and new rolls of diamond mesh wire were attached. This project brought joy to the community, knowing the school grounds and its students are now more secure.