The WSF Board has been monitoring the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus and has taken the decision to postpone the WSF event planned for Dublin until Autumn this year. This decision was taken following advice from the authorities in Ireland, who have been working with their European counterparts, and studying the science and the facts on the ground pertaining to the specific conditions in the country. Information regarding hotel bookings, etc., has been sent directly to registered participants via email.
BP Fellows will be informed as soon as new dates are identified for the 2020 Investor Conference and 74th BP Fellowship Event. The WSF Board and staff thank our investors for their patience in the past week whilst waiting for the advice from the Government of Ireland and above all for their continued support to Scouting.
WSF takes this opportunity to also thank Scouting Ireland for its support to date. It is about to launch a campaign in support of the Irish authorities to help deal with the massive public health, social support and information and education responses needed within communities throughout the country and will no doubt do an excellent job, particularly without the burden of a BP Fellowship event to support as well.
Similar initiatives are underway in other National Scout Organisations worldwide. Once again, Scouts are showing leadership and supporting their communities as best they can. Clearly public-facing services are best left to professionals, but support services at a community level, supporting vulnerable people, are among the roles Scouts are already undertaking in conjunction with their national authorities.
Here are just some of the many examples of Scouts showing leadership and solidarity with their communities, each as appropriate to their local situations, in line with health advice and restrictions imposed by national and local authorities:
- In Italy, when the government advised citizens over 65 to not leave the house at the beginning of March, Scouts in Fidenza responded by offering support to shop for and deliver basic supplies (food, over the counter and prescription drugs) to people in need. Many similar stories of Scouts supporting people as best possible, in municipalities across Italy including Nardò and Maranello, have also been reported in local news and on social media.
- Scouts in Milton, USA, have taken part in a coronavirus training. The training was already planned and adapted to help prepare and inform the Scouts, who will in turn help to educate others. They earned public health and emergency preparedness merit badges by taking part in discussions covering a wide range of topics, including how to identify and prevent illnesses and diseases like the coronavirus, Zika virus and lead poisoning.
- Scouts and Guides in Kohima, India, have run awareness training for Scouts and Rover Scouts on the origin of the Covid-19 virus, symptoms, how it is spread and preventative measures, and committed to passing on this information to their families, peers and local community.
- Thousands of Scouts and Guides in Singapore have written cards of encouragement to front-line health workers thanking them for their service.
- In Haiti, Scouts set up hand washing stations in an effort to raise the importance of hand hygiene in the face of the current COVID-19 situation. Scouts also encouraged their communities to set up their own hand washing stations for public use.
- In Indonesia, a rover unit learned more about infectious diseases and discussed actionable ideas to respond and raise awareness on COVID-19 in their community.
- Following cancellation of the Africa Scout Day celebrations initially planned for 13–16 March 2020 in Uganda, the Africa Scout Region has launched a week-long action campaign dubbed ASD Acrtion Week, running from 9–15 March 2020.
And in numerous locations where Scouting has had to be suspended to assist with containing the virus, Scouts still play a key role in disseminating information electronically and animating online networks to support people who are isolated following country-wide quarantine restrictions now in place.