Being alive in 2021 is another opportunity to cause positive transformations in our areas of interest. The year presents hope and glamour for ONE’s Champions. It is also full of uncertainties, especially following the lessons learned in 2020.
Quite a silent year it was; from silencing the guns in Africa to the forced silence on the world economy courtesy of COVID-19. This does not in any way insinuate that the challenges of 2020 are gone. On the contrary, they remain a solid benchmark upon which critical, proactive, and generational solutions must be formulated.
The importance of vaccine access
The presence of COVID-19 vaccines is a breakthrough that will result in the stability of many nations. The devastating pandemic has claimed many lives and left a trail of irreparable damages that we must learn to live with. However, the availability of the vaccine does not spell the end to the pandemic. The world must remain vigilant and live based on the health recommendations by the World Health Organization. Deviant behavior may only add salt to the wounds; something the world must avoid at all costs.
Accessibility to COVID-19 vaccines is a major roadblock that leaves all Champions across the world with a chance to dictate the way forward. The balance between the commercial aspect of the vaccine and the humanistic aspect is taking center stage. Questions on the vaccines’ affordability to less privileged societies must be brought to light. This calls for an unbowing spirit in championing for the prioritization of low-income nations.
A key pillar in making COVID-19 vaccines more accessible to disadvantaged groups is the change of mindset. Multiple societies have ingrained myths on the safety of the vaccine. These misconceptions are stumbling blocks that must be dealt with appropriately to ensure the whole population is vaccinated and kept safe from the virus.
Champions across the world are called to take a creative approach to counter the common narrative. One major way is through grassroots education and partnerships, which is critical in passing the right information. Amplifying the voice of Champions through the media platforms will also help counter fearmongering and misinformation.
Tackling COVID-19’s effects
According to the Human Rights Watch report 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in domestic violence and other inequalities. The initiated curfews and lockdowns had negative implications on a chunk of the global population. 2021 marks a year of recovery from the great distress. A good way to initiate the recovery process is to push for better educational policies to cater to the evident crack in the sector. A key charge is to push for forward thinking policies that address teenage pregnancies and a friendly learning environment. Additionally, the current measures of social distancing means a reduced classroom space and insufficiency of the learning resources for learners. These challenges provide opportunities for the Champions to hold the duty bearers to account.
As Champions confront the educational shortcomings, a more comprehensive and long-term solution must be provided. The shifting of the learning systems from the traditional methods to virtual learning exposed challenges, particularly to the most disadvantaged learners. This education inequality has to be handled in a manner that will guarantee access to quality education to all learners regardless of their background. By partnering with education scholars, global education movements, and other networks, solutions to such challenges will be attainable.
Hard work and faithfulness form the password for the success stories that will be told not only in 2021, but in the years to come. For the effective championship, teamwork, timely sharing of relevant information, consultation, and facilitation will come in handy. The spectrum to handle is wide, but a calculated step at a time will yield more than a general approach to the challenges. Champions must abhor the fallacy that global challenges are homogenous. Different segments require different approaches to their challenges.
With a set mind and an unquenchable drive, Champions are set to go.
Moses Wangwa, a ONE Champion in Kenya, spearheaded this blog with Champions across Africa.