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Back-to-school Poverty

Welcome to CENFACS’ Online Diary!

09 September 2020


Post No. 160



The Week’s Contents


• Back-to-school Poverty

• Back-to-the Upkeep of the Nature with the Theme of “Blue Spaces”

• Coming in Autumn 2020: The 69th Issue of FACS Newsletter, to be entitled as The Post-coronavirus Poverty Relief Restructuring


… and much more!




Key Messages


• Back-to-school Poverty


The 160th post of our blog page goes further in discussing the back-to-school poverty as the first key message and main development.  This key message and main development deals with back-to-school challenge, poverty issue, support that CENFACS can provide during the back-to-school period, expenses budget and the particularity of this year’s back-to-school; back-to-school which is happening in the middle of the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

Back-to-school poverty is what we are trying to help reduce or eradicate within our back-to-relief programme this Autumn 2020.  We are discussing it while carrying on back-to-relief programme and services. 

Back-to-school is a challenging time for many families and parents especially for those on low income brackets or just poor.  It is even extremely difficult for many of them as we are in an exceptional time of the coronavirus pandemic which has added more pain to these families and parents.  This pain is whether we talk about project beneficiaries here in the UK or in Africa.

For more on back-to-school poverty, please read under the Main Development section of this post.



• Back-to-the Upkeep of the Nature with the Theme of “Blue Spaces”


Our protection work on Oceans, which we conducted last September 2019, is continuing this year with the theme ofBlue Spaces”.  The protection of Oceans was an environmental case.  This year, the theme of “Blue Spaces” goes beyond environmental protection as the emphasis is put on the blue development and poverty relief. 

Indeed, we are trying to look at the extent to which the “Blue Spaces” together with the blue economy are helping people in Africa and elsewhere to alleviate or escape from poverty.   This is what one can call “blue poverty relief“.

We are as well revisiting the sustainable development goals by re-exploring the role and place that the “Blue Spaces” are playing in capacitating poor people’s sustainable development.  This is what one can term as “blue sustainable development“.

To materialise what we have just said, we have planned three key notes which deal with the environmental health, poverty-relieving and developmental aspects of our work on the “Blue Spaces”.  These notes are as follows:

(1) The coronavirus-induced Impacts on the “Blue Spaces

(2) The contribution of the “Blue Spaces” to poverty reduction

(3) The place of the “Blue Spaces” in sustainable development in Africa


Let’s summarise the first notes of our September 2020 work on waters; notes which started from 07 September 2020.


• • Week beginning 07/09/2020: The Coronavirus-induced Impacts on theBlue Spaces


As mentioned in our communication of last week, we are dealing with theBlue Spaces(that is visible surface waters like rivers, ponds, lakes, canals, fountains, etc.).  These first notes of theBlue Spaces” theme are on the indirect impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the different types of “Blue spaces”.   

In these notes of our water theme, we are trying to look at how the crippling effects of the coronavirus pandemic could have reached some of the “Blue Spaces”.  We are in particular gathering information and discussing through data based evidence how new products to protect humans against the coronavirus and the methods used to produce them are impacting the environmental health of waters and of humans and other living beings (plants and animals).

For example, we are searching if products such as disposal face coverings, personal protection equipment, gloves, cleaning products and so on are not ending in the “Blue Spaces” as waste disposal.  If they are ending in waters, there is a need to step up an awareness and educational campaign to stop the pollution of waters and air with the coronavirus protection products after their use.

The above is a summary of our first notes for the “Blue Spaces” campaign.  To enquire about this campaign and to add your input to it, just contact CENFACS.




• Coming in Autumn 2020: The 69th Issue of FACS Newsletter


The Autumn Issue for our bilingual newsletter FACS will be entitled as follows:

The Post-coronavirus Poverty Relief Restructuring

The following is an abstract about this Issue and the kinds of contents that will make it. 


• • Abstract for the 69th Issue of FACS


One of the lessons to learn from the coronavirus pandemic is that the business of poverty reduction will not be the same as it was in the pre-coronavirus period.  There will be a need to restructure the way in which poverty relief work is conducted. 

This restructuring is also an economic one.  The classification of economic activities between essential and non-essential, between healthy and unhealthy many need to be pursued so that one can exactly determine what economic activities are useful and helpful in reducing poverty and hardships, perhaps in ending them in Africa and elsewhere. 

Likewise, within the charity and voluntary sector there could be a need to remap activities and make them fit into the post-coronavirus emerging poverty relief and development landscapes.  The constituent organisations of this sector can reorganise their poverty reduction work in order to improve the poverty reduction outcomes.  This restructuring is not only economic one in terms of cutting costs, efficiency and generating more income; but it is mostly about delivering poverty-relief lasting value for the service provided so that one can see the end of poverty.

Our Africa-based Sister Organisations cannot be exempted from the restructuring storm.  Each organisation may need to reappraise and restructure its activities and operations in the light of the realities of the post-coronavirus development world.  This is not simply about labelling services or activities Covid-19 proof or secure.  Poverty Reduction Restructuring is more than that.  Then, what is it?

Poverty Relief Restructuring is deep like economic restructuring.  It is a total rethinking and rethought of our philosophy on the way we approach poverty issues.  Since the world is experiencing a global health crisis, Poverty Relief Restructuring is about integrating sanitation and health at the heart of the process of relieving poverty in both a specific and wider contexts.  Re-contextualise and re-conceptualise poverty reduction in this way will help to deliver service value for an end to sanitation poverty and poverty in general. 

The Post-coronavirus Poverty Relief Restructuring is about the kinds of changes that can be made to the constituent parts of the poverty relief architecture so that it reflects and provides the results that those in most need want.

The Post-coronavirus Poverty Relief Restructuring is a journey towards finding new ideas, practices and ways of relieving poverty in the newly reshaped development landscape while trying to rework some of the pre-coronavirus development paradigms of poverty reduction so that one can make them relevant to the post-Covid-19 world. 

The Post-coronavirus Poverty Relief Restructuring is also a move together with our local people and beneficiaries in finding better approaches to pull out poverty and hardships those who are still lagging behind in the cohort.  The Post-coronavirus Poverty Relief Restructuring is a theoretical shift from a conventional economic model to a coronavirus-free economic base or a pro-poor based economic model.        

The Post-coronavirus Poverty Relief Restructuring is more than just a tactical issue or make up.  It is about strategically rethinking on how to build and develop lasting poverty relief systems while taking into account the coronavirus pandemic and other threats or dimensions (like the climate change).   

The above gives a bit some flavour or idea about the next issue of FACS, the 69th Issue of FACS Newsletter. 

For any enquiries and or queries about this Issue, please do not hesitate to contact CENFACS.




Extra Messages


• 2020 September Advice service continues…


as planned for both UK and Africa projects.  We have provided below basic activities making the contents of advice services.  While this Advice-giving support is running, we are collecting and discussing Summer 2020 Reports or Tales as well.

The following are the areas covered by CENFACS‘ September 2020 Advice-giving Activities. 


• • Areas of Advice for Individuals we cover


We can provide advisory support on a wide range of issues which includes:

post-regional economic integration and economic transition skills, financial literacy and information, consumption and buying information, conversion of technical skills, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS awareness, education and training, educational development of children, cultural barriers, knowledge and respect of the British rule of law, opportunities for enterprises and credit access, social integration and behaviour, self-help development projects, coronavirus-induced poverty and hardships etc. 


• • Areas of Advice for Organisations we cover 


We can provide advisory support on the following areas:

project planning and development, investment in capacity building and development, resource mobilisation for African Sister Organisations for the Post-REI (Regional Economic Integration) and post-coronavirus times, sources of international fundraising, climate finance and digital finance, online fundraising strategies, etc.

You can request advice online by just filling an advice form at www.cenfacs.org.uk/services-activities and by posting it to CENFACS and CENFACS will get back to you.



• Virtual Open Day and Hours (VODHs): How They Work


Our Virtual Open Day, which is every Fridays of September 2020, is held from 10 am to 2 pm.

You can access VOHs by contacting CENFACS.

You do not need to register with us.

Every Fridays, you can either email or phone or even text between 10 am and 2 pm.




• Summer 2020 Reporting in Your Own Words and Numbers


Last week, we started to unlock or unpack our Summer holiday data and to prepare to tell our Summer holiday stories.  This week, we are going further in putting into practice our unlocked or unpacked data in support of Summer experiences or stories. 

From this week until Saturday the 19th of September 2020, we are simply asking those who can to share with us and others their Summer experiences; experiences about what they did during the Summer break and think that it is useful for sharing. 

The 2020 Summer Experiences Reporting activity is a further experience of reporting, sharing, learning and development opportunity for those who have not yet informed us about the outcomes of projects; projects pending for reporting, personal experiences to be shared, lessons to learn and development trends to spot.


• • Sharing Development Experiences, Stories, Tales and Reports about Summer 2020


As we are nearly reaching the end of Summer 2020, we would like our users and supporters as well as those who sympathise with CENFACS’ cause to share with us and others their experiences, stories and reports about the following:

√ Run, Play and Vote projects (Triple Value Initiatives): You can feedback the outcomes or Action-Results of your RunPlay and Vote projects.

√ Volunteering and Creation Stories: You can also share your volunteering stories with us and others if you did volunteer during the Summer break. 

√ Summer programmes: Healthiness and Appeal projects: You may prefer to report on your use of Healthiness projects and your response to our Humanitarian Relief Appeal projects.

√ August 2020 Trending Activities: You can as well report on your experience of following the direction of poverty reduction through socials and virtual worlds.

√ Other Experiences and Stories Reporting: You can feedback on any moving experience or transformative story you have had during Summer 2020.

√ “Mission” Activities: As we are in CENFACS’ “Mission” Year, we would be more than happier to hear any stories related to this year’s dedication.

You can report your experience via e-mail, over phone and through social media networks or channels of communication (e.g Twitter).  

Thank you for supporting us with your Summer 2020 experience, story and report In Your Own Words and Numbers.




Main Development


Back-to-school poverty


Our discussion revolves around the following matters: back-to-school challenge, poverty, back-to-school disrupted by the coronavirus and back-to-school budget and support.


• • Back-to-school time as a challenging period for a basic human right and a deserving cause


For some, back-to-school is a normal time to prepare and do normal purchase whether is for school uniforms or books or even any other school items.  However, for those who are struggling to make ends meet, back-to-school time could be a very challenging moment as they may not always have enough financial resources or support to cope with the requirements of the start of the new school year.  Yet, education is a basic human right and a deserving need for children and the all society. 

This year’s back-to-school is even more challenging as the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have disrupted the normal preparation of back-to-school.  This disruption starts since the lockdown began, from the purchasing of what pupils and students need to the format or formula of the school start.


• • Back-to-school disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns


This year’s back-to-school is special as the crippling effects of the coronavirus and lockdowns continue to disrupt the entire organisation of the back-to-school for this September school entry 2020/2021.   

The coronavirus pandemic has completely changed the way in which back-to-school has to be approached in many aspects by including enhanced health and safety measures such as social distancing rules, disinfection of educational materials and establishment, daily number of people allowed by square meter in any educational infrastructures, etc.

The coronavirus pandemic has introduced new items while increasing the level of spending for other existing items in the back-to-school budget.  It has brought new social rules such as the wearing of face coverings and the regular use of sanitising products.  This can only affect the togetherness and school community life. 

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the patterns and habits of working life and socialisation while introducing or reinforcing the virtual and online dimensions in the back-to-school preparation and delivery. 

Briefly, due to the coronavirus pandemic the all health and safety policies and practices have to be redesigned and tested against the pandemic.  While this has been done, some of those parents and families who do not have enough for their children can find themselves in a back-to-school poverty with them.  They could be in the back-to-school poverty while still struggling against sanitation poverty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.


• • Back-to-school poverty


Back-to-school poverty is the inability to afford the educational requirements of the start of the new school year.  It is the inability for parents and carers to meet the basic life-sustaining needs of education for their children in terms of purchasing school items (such as uniforms, clothes, books, electronics, etc.). 

This incapacity can include other expenses that compete against or with educational materials; expenses that are school fees, living expenses to start a new school year, transport cost to travel to schools, food, a place to study at home, family relocation, etc.

Besides these universal costs, there are new costs due to the coronavirus.  They can include the following: buying soaps and often wash children’s clothes to disinfect them from the traces of the coronavirus, preparing special lunchboxes with items to disinfect hands and tools before eating, providing to each child personal school utensils to avoid any exchange with other school mates, etc. 

Families and parents living in poverty or on a tight family budget may not be able to afford these additional expenses budget.  They are forced to currently deal with two types poverty: back-to-school poverty and sanitation poverty.  The first type of poverty is related to the start of the new school year whereas the second is caused by the pressure from the coronavirus pandemic.  There could be support for some of the vital educational and sanitation needs to be met; just as there is no support for others.


• • Back-to-school support at CENFACS


Any type of poverty needs response.  As far as CENFACS is concerned, we can support those falling into back-to-school poverty trap by providing advice through our advisory package under the back-to-relief programme.  This package includes activities such as advice, advocacy, information, guidance, signposting, etc. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have enhanced health and safety aspects in this programme.  We are also providing support related to the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown on those who are looking for this type of support.  Although our support to fight both back-to-school poverty and sanitation poverty is small and limited, it can nevertheless help beneficiaries to get something and keep moving towards of a BIG relief.

Since the battle against the coronavirus pandemic is not yet over, there are limitations on the ways our support can be accessed.  It can be accessed as follows:

√ Only virtually on a no face-to-face physical basis, but on a one-to-one basis or as a group

√ Over phone

√ Via e-mail

√ and by filing the comment box on our website saying the type of support you need


Where beneficiaries have access to video technology, we can arrange a meeting via a video scream. 

Where a physical meeting with beneficiaries is unavoidable, extra precautionary health and safety measures will be taken before the advice can happen.

To seek advice or support regarding your back-to-school poverty or hardships, please contact CENFACS.


• • Back-to-school Special Budget


The 2020/2021 Back-to-school Special Budget is a special one for many parents and families as they have to cost and integrate the aforementioned aspects of protection related to the coronavirus pandemic into the educational budget of their children. 

Although young children may not be wearing face masks, there are still some levels of investment that parents and families may have to do to keep the education of their children to an internationally agreed standard.  They may have to proceed with the following initiatives:

√ Invest in distance learning technologies (such as tablets, laptops, mobile phones, etc.)

√ Improve their access to internet and broadband supplies

√ Reorganise space at home to create an office-like desk environment for e-learning and video calling for the educational purpose of their children

All this type of investment will create additional costs in the back-to-school plans, although some of these will not be at the start of the school.    

For poor families and parents, it is even more difficult for them to keep the educational level of their children to a good standard unless they get financial support to their back-to-school budget. 

For those parents and families who are struggling to write their back-to-school budget, we can help them to do that.  We can as well advise on some of the aspects related to the back-to-school budget preparation.  Furthermore, we can lead them to specific advice services related to back-to-school matters.

To seek advice or support regarding your back-to-school budget, please contact CENFACS.


Help CENFACS keep the Poverty Relief work going in 2020.

We do our work on a very small budget and on a voluntary basis.  Making a donation will show us you value our work and support CENFACS’ work, which is currently offered as a free service. 

One could consider a recurring donation to CENFACS in the future.

Donate to support CENFACS!


FOR ONLY £1, YOU CAN SUPPORT CENFACS AND CENFACS’ PROJECTS, JUST GO TO http://cenfacs.org.uk/supporting-us/

Thank you for visiting CENFACS website and reading this post.

Thank you as well to those who made or make comments about our weekly posts.

We look forward to receiving your regular visits and continuing support throughout 2020 and beyond.

With many thanks.


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