“Measuring impact” is a phrase that we often use to demonstrate how programmes are positively helping families and communities overcome crises and build their way out of poverty. Today, however, it is difficult to even begin to describe the devastating impact of COVID 19 across our partner countries, let alone measure it.
In the UK we have personally felt the extremities of this virus’ impact, from fear of infection to the ever-growing social and economic crisis of the imposed lockdowns. Our everyday vocabulary has been expanded to include phrases like “quarantine”, “self-isolate”, “lockdown”, “R rate” and “the rule of 6”.
Our partner countries have felt these changes at an exacerbated level. With medical, educational and public transport systems already being underdeveloped, enforced lockdowns have multiplied issues like mass unemployment, teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, child labour and hunger. Food supply systems have been cut off and schools forced to close. It is unclear when and how these non-government schools will have sufficient resources to reopen. The government-imposed lockdowns have exposed the fragility of developing economies that depend on cross-border traffic for supplies and people travelling for business or tourism. The UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) has estimated the economic impact on developing countries to be $220 billion.
Looking to the Future…
Today our partners are beginning to see restrictions ease. Churches are starting to congregate again. Public transport, although still limited, is operating and borders are opening, with air traffic slowly increasing. Schools are also gradually allowing students back with many new regulations and guidelines. We know so well that easing restrictions also carry the threat of being reversed if infection rates rise. We need to understand that the virus and its accompanying impacts, will be with us for a long time to come and as we continue to work with our partners around the world we want to focus our efforts on helping families to build resilience for the future.
The Next Steps
Our first priority is to facilitate children back into education safely. To do this, classrooms will have to be less crowded and classes more frequent.
Social distance measures mean that dormitories will also have to halve their capacity and each school will need its own PPE facilities. Our other project areas that have been on hold are slowly starting to reopen. The Livelihoods Programme and Lydia Ladies women’s empowerment programme in Nepal have both resumed. The WASH Programme in Uganda is also resuming, and our church workers have been able to start ministering again in their communities. We are grateful that families will once again be able to benefit from these resources and become equipped with skills that will serve their communities into the future.
Living in Hope
As a Christian, I live in the hope of God’s full restoration and redemption of all creation. The families and communities of our partner countries demonstrate this hope, and you in turn, have provided hope through the generosity of your giving through this challenging time. We thank you so much for your faithful support through this crisis. May I ask that you continue to walk with us through your prayer & giving support as we shift from short-term crisis management to building long-term resilience within our partner communities.
Danny Morris, National Director, International Needs UK
The Coronavirus crisis is far from over and we need your support to help our partners build resilience to face the challenges ahead. We are focusing particularly on raising additional support for our education, livelihoods and health projects.
Health and Well-being
Building health service capacity is absolutely vital both for combating the virus and ensuring that the communities we serve will continue to thrive in the long term. Earlier in the year, our partner-run medical centres in Uganda and Burkina Faso began to notice that people were wary of coming to get their regular treatments due to fear of catching the virus.
We responded by providing essential PPE equipment to help to reassure patients and protect the staff. We have seen confidence return and the medical centres are as busy as ever serving the local population. We will need additional support to continue providing PPE as the pandemic continues.
Rebuilding livelihoods creates new sources of income. Through the programme, families receive support through resource provision such as tools and livestock. They are also supported with vocational skills training and finances to build their own small businesses. Individuals and households are given the choice of how their families are supported.
Many elect for livestock support to start their own farming businesses, others opt for skills training and resources to start their own businesses such as furniture making and other trades. We need your help to relaunch our livelihoods programme as soon as possible to in order to help ease the strain and economic impact of lockdown on families.
We are passionate about seeing all children receive an education that is excellent, empowering and above all, safe. All of our partner-run schools have been closed since March and are now adapting to the new government guidelines in order to reopen safely this month. Children of all ages are now required to wear face masks and routinely wash their hands.
All available rooms are being repurposed as extra classrooms and we are needing to acquire more furniture urgently in order to meet the new social distancing guidelines. Our partners are doing everything they can to reopen schools whilst also protecting the children and their families.
Can you help us?