Episode 4: A conversation with Dr. Michael Adekunle Charles, Head of Country Cluster for Southern Africa at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

In this episode, we are honored to speak with Dr. Michael Adekunle Charles, Head of Country Cluster for Southern Africa at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). Dr. Adekunle talks about the impact of COVID-19 on local communities, how local communities demonstrate resilience and the future of humanitarian assistance after this pandemic. A public health expert and seasoned humanitarian, Dr. Adekunle says the COVID-19 response should not be seen from a health perspective alone. He explains how communities are worried about their livelihoods, uncertainties of losing jobs and water and sanitation. “We ask people to wash their hands for hygiene, but the reality is that not everybody has water or running water to do that,” he stressed.

Dr. Charles says the pandemic is also an opportunity to bring people together, especially in fragile societies or countries where there are conflicts. He explains how the IFRC is using the crisis to bring communities together against the common enemy – COVID-19, in the process fostering peaceful coexistence.

Dr. Charles identifies innovation, collaboration, and solidarity at all levels of society, as critical to resolving the crisis – concluding that, “together we can succeed.”

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