Salma | NGO Worker | Amman, Jordan
How have you been spending your time during the quarantine In Jordan?
S: After a few days of the quarantine I started to feel tired of being home all the time, so I tried to make a daily routine. Thankfully my father has a garden, so I sit outside to enjoy nature and read books. Later, my family and I have lunch and watch TV or movies together. We like to sit and chat about family, which is nice for me because normally I am so far away from them so I don’t have the opportunity to talk about family (laughs).
How has COVID-19 changed your professional life?
S: I am a field coordinator, so most of my work has to be done in the field. I am unable to visit the places and the people I typically work with. In addition, the areas that I work in are lower-income communities and they don’t have the resources, such as scanners or printers, to work with us virtually, particularly for the paperwork I need them to sign. For example, if I want to transfer an amount of money for a grant to them via email, they don’t have the resources to print it, sign it, and scan it back to me. Still, beneficiaries' needs are being met since all of the projects’ funds were given in advance using Zain Cash. The organization did this because it wanted to be cautious about the epidemic. However, the payments for the vendors and the logistics department are on hold because they are not all together in the same town.
Have you seen any new measures implemented by NGOs because of COVID-19?
S: Some of the health NGOs will definitely have new projects focusing on Coronavirus. I’m sure they will write proposals for raising awareness on hygiene. But for our current projects, I’m not sure how we are going to deal with the donors because some of the projects are supposed to be finished soon. Now we don’t know when we will go back to work, so we may need to ask for a two or three-month extension. This would be a no-cost extension, meaning that the project length will be extended in order to use the remaining funds from the grant until the project is completed.
What is a blessing that has come from this situation for you that didn’t exist before?
S: You might find this contradictory. I used to live alone for five years - I was fully responsible for myself and I was doing whatever I wanted, going out whenever I wanted and with whomever I wanted. Now I am quarantined with my family where I am not allowed to go out because of the governorate’s instructions. So, I think this situation has made me appreciate the freedom that I used to have. You know, I used to complain all the time that I didn’t have enough freedom in Amman, but now I really appreciate it. Life is much easier when you are with your family, but I realized I really value the freedom I had.
Salma works with vulnerable Syrians and Jordanians at an NGO based in Amman, Jordan.