To make ongoing Saving Group meetings COVID-19 adapted and safe, the following preconditions need to be met for all meeting scenarios listed in this guideline.
Where possible, NGOs can conduct fund raising activities to avail sanitary materials needed during a meeting
Safe meeting checklist
Reduced meeting size
The number of attendees of a SG meeting should NOT at any point exceed the number of people a government allows to meet during the COVID-19 crisis. For example, if a government bans any gatherings/meetings of more than 4 people, SGs should adhere to the law and adapt their meeting size accordingly. The fewer the members that meet, the lower the risk of spreading the virus
Avoid meetings if sick
If members feel unwell, they should always avoid attending meetings. They should call the health care system to get guidance
Open air meetingsMeetings should be held outside or in airy room. This coupled with safe distance minimizes the chance of contracting the virus.
Keeping clean hands before, during and after meetings is crucial. Members should make sure that they can keep their hands clean either through washing their hands with soap or by using alcohol-based rub like sanitizer and hand gel before, during & after their meetings. Where resource is available, it is recommended that members use gloves, especially when handling money (notes and coins) and other meeting equipment like saving box. If gloves or face masks are used, they need to be washed/disposed right after the meeting.
Practice respiratory hygieneMake sure you, and the other group members follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
All interactions of members during a SG meeting need to be done at a safe distance. Each member should stay two steps apart from one another. Members should avoid handshakes, hugs and kissing when greeting. Proximity with one another easily spreads the virus.
One-at-a-time principleMeeting activities involving the action of more than one person at the same time should be done one person at a time to avoid proximity. E.g. unlocking the keys of the box should be done one at a time by each key holder or the responsibility can be given to only one person to avoid further contact.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Reduced direct contact with meeting itemsThere should be as little contact with money and shared physical meeting items as possible. Touching items that others have just touched could be a way for the virus to spread. This includes items such as coins/notes, saving box, ledger, pen/pencil, calculator, passbooks, phones, snacks, coffee, etc.
- Registration on passbooks should be handled only by the secretary while others observe from a safe distance as distributing passbooks to all members can increase point of contamination.
- If all members agree, registration can be limited to main ledger only during the crisis time.
- Designating one person only to handle the money counting while other observe from a safe distance would reduce the point of contamination.
- Where available, coins/notes should be handled wearing gloves. If gloves are not available, hands should be thoroughly washed before and after touching money. Wherever possible direct contact with money should be avoided.
Handling the box
- The one-at-a-time principle mentioned above should be implemented when opening and closing the box.
- Only the box holder should have contact with the box.
- Where available, the box should be handled wearing gloves/cloth.
- If gloves are not available, hands should be thoroughly washed before and after touching the box