Leveraging Digital Platforms In Response To COVID-19 Pandemic
FRIEND Director – Sashi Kiran talking about food security IMAGE: FRIEND
The Pacific Farmers Have Their Say Report (2020) has warned that without large-scale coordinated action, the disruption to food systems brought on by the global COVID-19 pandemic may pose serious health and nutrition implications.
Sashi Kiran, the Director of Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises & Development (FRIEND) said the combined impacts of the global pandemic and natural disasters has forced more than 185,000 individuals and families to seek alternative means for survival, and has emphasized the importance of collaboration to assist targeted communities.
“An initiative by Then India Sanmarga Ikya (TISI) Sangam, Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, Civil Society Organisations and Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises & Development was set up in Nadi for humanitarian response and distributed food rations, seedlings, facilitating training and providing counselling and certain legal services to those impacted by both crises.”
The impacts is also seeing the rising value of ICT4Ag innovations, and has strengthened existing partnerships between TraSeable Farms and FRIEND to monitor and evaluate FRIEND’s food security programme including tracking requests for food and medical assistance, seed distribution program, and home garden training initiatives.
The app captures real-time data on the impact of the pandemic on domestic food markets where sixty-eight participants were trained to use the app to gather price information for 20 common food items sold in municipal and informal markets and supermarkets in the Solomon Islands, Samoa and Fiji.
The activities are co-funded by the Farmers’ Organizations for Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (FO4ACP) Programme, a joint partnership between the European Union, Africa Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) and Pacific Island Farmers Organisation Network (PIFON).