Home > Covid-19 > COVID-19: through the Darkest of Days, there was still Innovation!

Misean Cara’s Health Project Officer Niamh Caffrey reflects on the innovation and creativity of our members, and their dedication to local solutions for local communities.

Against a backdrop of the destruction of life, livelihoods and economies resulting from COVID-19, I am humbled by the innovative stories I have heard from Misean Cara members.”

Missionaries working in the most remote regions of the world, where abject poverty is commonplace; they bear witness to empathy, solidarity and creativity within and among local communities. In times of despair, I am always struck by the strength of missionaries and their braveness that steers them through the darkest of days.

During Misean Cara’s Mission COVID-19, our members have shared stories of Sisters procuring sewing machines to make face masks for free distribution, a livelihood project in Kenya transforming its machinery to mass produce hand sanitizer and students out-of-school constructing non-touch sanitation stations from jerrycans within their slum community.

Metal workshop to make stands for hand-washing facilities in Kakuma, Kenya, supported by Don Bosco and Misean Cara.

The innovation and creativity, the uniqueness of each project, is a reflection of our members’ dedication to local communities finding local solutions which target those most vulnerable.

Picture an everyday, ordinary plastic container, attached to a tree branch by twine. The picture may explain better, but the branch, literally fallen from a tree, acts as a lever to tip the inexpensive plastic container that contains water and soap, allowing one to wash their hands, without touching the invention. No plumber needed! In this case, just some dedicated women who were willing to learn how to make this non-touch tap for their communities to wash their hands while limiting transmission risk .

At a workshop in Riwoto, South Sudan, a group of women learnt to make non-touch taps for their communities, with support from St Patricks Missionaries and Misean Cara.

The handmade tap is simple in its design, easily replicable and an excellent measure to promote and ensure hand hygiene. Today’s most crucial life lesson for all.

Sister Mary brought the idea of the non-touch tap to Riwoto, South Sudan after seeing it in action in the humanitarian response to Ebola in Northern Uganda. After some workshops on their construction and hygienic practices, community members are installing the taps near their homes and schools; they say that the tap will outlast COVID-19.

Misean Cara members have demonstrated a long-term commitment to the communities in which they work and have used their prophetic vision to ensure a better life for all continued to be of paramount importance during this pandemic. They have also ensured a holistic approach to intervention delivery for both individuals and communities, alleviating immediate and long-term suffering in the face of COVID-19. Thus showing the power of the Missionary Approach to Development.

As the global crisis continues, as I fearfully open the newspaper every morning to see the daily victims, I know that amongst the bleakness of COVID-19, I have colleagues who will not allow this infectious virus to consume them, their thoughts, their communities or their work.

Misean Cara members continue to shine a light within nations across the world, ensuring the voices of communities are heard and acted upon.

Our members have shown me that there still is innovation. There still is creativity. There still is hope! I hope such creativity in the face of adversity continues to spread, and spreads more quickly, and with greater traction, than COVID-19.

The first part of this series of reflections on the global pandemic by Misean Cara’s Niamh Caffrey is here.

The second part of Niamh Caffrey’s series is about the strain of caring for COVID-19 against a backdrop of fragmented healthcare systems and can be read here.

In the final part of this 4-part series Niamh Caffrey analyses the risk of hunger in this time of COVID-19, the Hunger Pandemic.