The COVID-19 virus is having a significant impact on communities around the world, including those which Right To Play serves. 91% of the word’s student population is currently out of school. The children we work with are some of the most vulnerable and are particularly susceptible to the effects of a crisis like this one. It is vital that we continue to be there for them now and in the future.


Children Face Specific Risks

Children’s education has now been interrupted, protective structures disrupted and their families and communities placed under stress by health and economic burdens.

We have identified the following key areas of concern for the children we serve:

  • Neglect and maltreatment due to limited childcare options and the heightened risk of psychological distress or illness among caregivers.
  • Increased incidences of violence including domestic violence, corporal punishment, sex exploitation and child marriage, due to school closures, persistent gender norms/inequalities and lack of access to basic services.
  • Psychosocial distress due to isolation measures, illness or death in the family.
  • Interrupted learning, children are deprived from in-school learning and opportunities including social contact that is essential to their development.
  • Dangerous, exploitative work due to the loss of family support, care and household income
  • Stigmatization and exclusion due to discrimination relating to the virus of the disproportionate impact of secondary risks on already marginalized children and families

What is Right To Play doing to respond to the pandemic?

Right To Play has a critical part to play in keeping children safe and healthy through this crisis. For 20 years we have used the power of sport and play to teach children how to protect themselves from disease and illness and how to stay both mentally and physically healthy. We are applying what we have learned over the years, in particular our learnings from the Ebola outbreak in Liberia in 2014, to give children critical knowledge to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe. Check out our webinar with field and executive leadership from Right To Play and The LEGO Foundation to learn more, below.

Our Emergency Response

In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, the team at Right To Play has acted quickly to modify our approach and adapt to the changing realities on the ground.

In just a few weeks, we have been able to adjust our repository of life skills games, materials and resources as well as our delivery method while children are out of school. As a result, thousands of children have already participated in Right To Play-led preventative handwashing activities, are gaining remote access to critical lessons on social distancing, conflict resolution, literacy and numeracy to name a few. Our work also proactively involves developing and implementing measurement and evaluation measures from the outset so we can assess the outcomes of our modified approach and ensure greater impact..

  1. Keep Children Safe and Healthy
  2. Keep Children Learning
  3. Keep Children Mentally strong

Right To Play has implemented a plan to urgently respond to the needs of children with three focuses during quarantine, and we are also mapping out which services and material needs are being supported by organizations and what local communities might be lacking. This is allowing field staff to advocate on behalf of families who need these services to ensure they have adequate access to vital hygiene products, food and medicine.

Research shows that structured play, when effectively applied, can facilitate healing and develop life skills.

To view the webinar in its entirety, click here.

Expert perspectives


What Can I Do to Help Those Affected?

The worst health crisis of a generation is challenging the world. We are extremely concerned how COVID-19 will affect the most vulnerable populations.

We must do all we can to support program countries through the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will work to ensure the world’s most vulnerable children and young people get the support they need during this crisis but to do this we need your help.

For Right To Play, educating children on how to stay safe and healthy is not new. In fact it is one of our core beliefs and strategies and will help protect whole communities.

During these tough times, we are leaning on you to help us just as millions of children are leaning on us. Your gift will save lives.