JCI taking local action

during the corona pandemic

JCI is known for responding to the needs of its local community. This year we are dealing with COVID-19 and suddenly we are all dealing with likewise problems worldwide. Various Local Organizations have set up projects to support their community. from sending postcards to lonely elderly people - who are not allowed to receive visitors due to the lockdown - to supporting the local economy. In this article we explain two great examples from JCI Malta and JCI Romania.

"The coronavirus lockdown period has been a time when everyone needed to stand up and take action," says Nicole Borg, the project manager for Buy a Meal.

Only a few months into the year, covid-19 had spread across the globe. JCI Malta Local Organizations faced an unseen challenge having to cancel all physical events.

A group of members in JCI Malta identified an opportunity and called an emergency meeting. Wanting to focus on business development this year, Nicole says, "we thought that we wanted to help those businesses that ended up having to shut their doors, particularly the restaurants as at the time they were the most impacted."

Many people suffered from job loss and suddenly faced extreme circumstances.

"It's impossible to feed a family of five people or more with €800 a month, " she says.

“Buy a meal” project was initiated by a team of seven across Local Organizations in JCI Malta, helping to provide food to vulnerable communities and support the businesses that had been hit by the crisis.

Donations across generations Malta is a small island in the Mediterranean sea with less than half a million inhabitants. During the strong financial hit on the local economy, the project covered the main island and Gozo, a smaller island part of the Maltese Islands.

With rapid response from local NGO-s, supermarkets and businesses, the project attracted attention among all age groups. Anyone could donate a minimum of ten pounds covering a transport fee and a warm meal through the donations website.

"We had young people donating, and we had businesses donating, we had elderly people donating parts of their pensions. It truly served to showcase the generosity of the public in time of need," says Nicole.

"Whenever there's a person that needed a meal, we had a restaurant close by that could deliver it warm and ready to eat." With Bolt Food as a delivery partner, a total of 2,997 meals were delivered, 150 people helped and ten local restaurants supported. All this throughout the period March 23rd and May 3rd. Multiple partnerships and attention During the project, the team partnered up with 20 businesses, including NGOs, attracted two new members and gained around 15 articles of media coverage in the local papers. As a community-led project run by active volunteers, the campaign brought to light "how JCI members can be leaders in helping companies realise their CSR potential and invest their money in worthy causes that would in turn help communities," says Nicole. The immediate growth of the project attracted widespread attention across local media and international JCI chambers with JCI Serbia launching a similar project. Aside from the small obstacles along the way, Nicole says enthusiastically "love your project and your ideas, but be ready to adapt and change them to keep your project a success."

The coronavirus lockdown period has been a time when everyone needed to stand up and take action

The coronavirus lockdown period has been a time when everyone needed to stand up and take action

When the coronavirus hit JCI Romania immediately help out in their community and made a difference for the medical sector.

The immediate pressure of covid-19 virus on the medical sector forced JCI Romania to take action. "As soon as the pandemic was declared, we as an organization decided that whatever we do next for our community, we will do it based on the good health and well being SDG and all it stands for," says Iacob Filip, the project manager for Alongside Medics. The purpose of Alongside Medics was to produce protective face wear and help medical staff and police from getting infected with the covid-19 virus. "We heard about a nationwide movement that started in Bucharest, led by the national website www.viziere.ro," says Iacob. "We teamed up with Viziere.ro and The Young Medicine Students Association and in collaboration prototyped a face shield for doctors and medical staff, gendarmes and police officers. The manufacturing time was very short and the face shield was made of materials that are easy to procure." Local Organization JCI Constanta became the official Viziere.ro partner for Constanța Region and joined forces with two local young entrepreneurs - Aurelian Anghelescu (Sian Image Media) and Vasile Catalin (Party Balloony) to benefit from the extra publicity. Entrepreneurs Aurelian Anghelescu and Vasile Catalin "started to produce face shields and clips in their offices with their CNC machines and 3D printers and took care of the production," says Iacob. Partnership with Red Cross JCI Constanta focused on online marketing activities and fundraising covering the whole Dobrogea region. Another active project in collaboration with the Red Cross in Constanta helped to gain publicity. It was addressing locals in (self) isolation in need of food and hygiene packages.

"Lucky for us, we had already started another campaign alongside The Red Cross in Constanta to fundraise for their campaign that helped us create awareness and provide a means to help those that needed it most," says Iacob with confidence:

As the Alongside Medics campaign launched, other NGO's and medical staff approached the JCI Constanta project team "for an exchange for better online coverage and face masks".

An international oil company - OMV Petrom S.A based in Constanta in urgent need of the face shields made a significant contribution towards the campaign. The company supported the JCI Constanta campaign by covering most of the costs helping to double the production and coverage. Replication of the project Despite the challenges as "sheer lack of PETG material, the overpricing distributors tried to enforce for this material, and the lack of proper delivery means," the team behind the project kept going. Iacob Filip said that as an NGO they did the best they could to help the local community. "We helped our colleagues in Moldova replicate our project, and unfortunately they had the same issues, so it's a known fact right now, fundraise as much as you can and find material as fast as you can," says he. The project received coverage in a total of eleven online and radio stations. "Many of our community members saw our action and wanted to interact more with our ideas and projects," says he. He is positive this leads to a growth in members because the project gained public attention of young citizens who care and can deliver a project with impact.