Corona survival kits for the most vulnurable

In Africa, Corona puts small children’s lives in danger – even if the virus spares them. Because the crisis exacerbates shortages and hunger in the poorest families. “The children urgently need emergency aid packages now,” says Dr. Martin Grunder, project coordinator of Menschen für Menschen in Ethiopia.

Social Distancing nicht möglich: Slumwohnung in Äthiopien

Mother with a small child in a slum: This is how cramped the families who receive our emergency aid live.

In the poor districts of Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, some children are so weak that their legs will not carry them. “Some of their arms have a circumference of only nine centimetres – that means acute malnutrition,” reports project coordinator Dr. Martin Grunder. “The Corona crisis exacerbates the situation. Their mostly single mothers also have no income at all.
Usually, the poorest mothers make ends meet as domestic help doing laundry for instance. Some resort to prostitution to feed their children. Many beg outside churches. But now the government has declared a state of emergency and the churches are closed. The people limit their contacts and the mothers are no longer given work to do laundry for wealthier families. “They are now completely on their own,” reports Dr. Grunder on site in the slums of Ethiopia. “That is why they urgently need emergency aid.”

Verteilung von Lebensmitteln in Äthiopien

Distribution of food to poor mothers.

Monthly Emergency Aid Package

As an immediate measure, 157 mothers in Addis Ababa receive a monthly package containing ten kilograms of wheat flour, six kilograms of pasta, two litres of cooking oil and soap. The package also includes five kilograms of Famix, a high-protein corn and soya mix with vitamins and minerals especially for malnourished infants. In addition, the mothers will be trained about the transmission of Covid-19 and how they can protect themselves and their children from it.

The emergency aid in Ethiopia’s capital is a short-term extension of a continuously running nutrition programme by Menschen für Menschen: Usually needy mothers receive monthly rations of protein-rich supplementary food for their small children. At weekly communal meals, they receive lessons in hygiene. Due to Covid-19, these meetings had to be suspended. Instead, the helpers now organize the distribution of Corona survival kits for the whole family in the slums. Menschen für Menschen is also preparing such survival kits for the city of Debre Berhan, where the Swiss foundation is supporting one thousand children from the poorest families.

According to statistics, one in four Ethiopian children was already malnourished before the Corona crisis. This means that one year old children weigh less than two kilograms than normal; two and three year olds less than three kilograms. Twelve out of every hundred small children suffer from acute respiratory tract infections; one in 18 children in Ethiopia dies before their fifth birthday. “Malnutrition extremely weakens the children’s immune system,” explains Martin Grunder. “That is why they are dependent on these food packages right now in the Corona crisis.”

Grafik LebensmittelpaketOur emergency aid package consists of:

  • 10 kg wheat flour
  • 5 kg Famix (high-protein special food for infants)
  • 6 kg pasta
  • 2 L edible oil
  • 5 pieces of soap


Let’s act now!

The Corona crisis impacts the poorest families hardest. They now need survival kits with food and special nutrition for malnourished infants.

With 70 Swiss francs, you can make food packages possible that will ensure the survival of two families for one month.


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