*A video update on our COVID-19 response is now available. This page was last updated on May 25, 2020.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has many of us feeling uncertain about the future. What began as a global health crisis has only worsened the inequalities that exist for so many around the world.
Many are already seeing their livelihoods and employment either severely limited or completely lost. Families are worried about meeting their most pressing needs, especially for food. The United Nations is warning of the potential for famine and estimates that the number of people suffering from acute hunger might double in 2020, potentially reaching a quarter of a billion people. As a member of Canadian Foodgrains Bank, PWS&D will respond to hunger needs as much as we are able.
PWS&D is responding through the ACT Alliance where rapid response projects have started in 14 countries. Projects are initially helping affected people with access to food, sanitation and hygiene, protective equipment and psycho-social support, with a focus on gender justice and the protection of highly vulnerable populations. PWS&D partners in three countries (Afghanistan, Malawi and Ghana) are implementing COVID-19 relief projects through the ACT Alliance.
Adjustments have been made to programs in every country where PWS&D works, repurposing funds for planned activities which are not currently possible. In Malawi, personal protective equipment has been purchased to enable health programs. Food security projects have been modified to ensure people don’t go hungry. Take home packages for students will allow education programs to continue in Afghanistan. Radio messages in Guatemala are raising awareness about the spread of COVID-19.
Adjustments have been to programs in every country where PWS&D is directly implementing projects with partners.
In Malawi, PWS&D partners have cancelled large community meetings but are still providing as much one-on-one support as they are able. Partners are also purchasing personal protective equipment, including masks, gloves and gowns, and cleaning and disinfecting supplies. A gift of $50 provides a kit of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers, including masks, gloves, gowns, etc.
In Ghana, which has some of the highest COVID-19 numbers in west Africa, PWS&D’s partner is encouraging preventative actions, including social distancing wherever possible and good sanitation and hygiene practices, especially handwashing.
In Afghanistan, PWS&D’s partner, Community World Service Asia, is hosting awareness sessions where community members learn preventive measures to keep their families safe from COVID-19.
Schools in Afghanistan are also closed. While some students are being educated via online classes, TV and radio, many students in rural areas lack access to these resources. Through our girls’ education project, CWSA is hoping to introduce self-help study packages for students, as well as connecting teachers with students through phones or safe visits for assistance.
In India, the PWS&D-supported Duncan Hospital is taking all necessary precautions to keep both staff and patients safe and are thankful that their work has not been significantly impacted due to coronavirus
While total COVID-19 infections in Nepal are very low, the country remains on lockdown. PWS&D’s partner, International Nepal Fellowship, is continuing our leprosy and tuberculosis program and supplying personal protective equipment, soap and food packages to those in need.
Families who are part of a PWS&D-supported nutrition and child development project are now also being provided with hygiene and sanitation items, including hand soap and towels, disinfectant wipes, bleach, cleaning supplies and toilet paper.
In Haiti, mobile clinics that treat malnourished children have now moved their operations to door-to-door support. In this way, community health workers are still able to provide therapeutic nutritional support the children who need it.
While PWS&D partners in Guatemala aren’t able to continue their regular community work because of a government-imposed lockdown, they’re still doing what they can. To help prevent the spread of coronavirus, they are using radio messages and social media to provide communities with information regarding safety and prevention measures.
In the Bahamas, implementation of Hurricane Dorian relief efforts have been slowed because of risks associated with large public gathering. It is anticipated that the project will take an additional three months to complete.
PWS&D has contributed an initial $25,000 to the ACT Alliance COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund. This fund is providing support to 14 projects implemented by national members in each country responding to humanitarian needs in the face of the crisis.
Through the projects, ACT members will be supporting national health services, working with faith leaders in providing accurate and timely information to communities, and providing sorely needed support to the most vulnerable people in communities. Much of ACT’s work through this appeal includes a focus on gender justice, the important role of local faith actors and churches, and the protection of highly vulnerable populations.
PWS&D partners in three countries (Afghanistan, Malawi and Ghana) are implementing COVID-19 relief projects through the ACT Alliance.
We continue to do all we can to help bring hope and lessen the impact of this pandemic and are grateful for your faithful support.
Please support this essential work by making a donation today. A gift of $20 or $50 can provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers or help families put food on their tables when livelihoods are threatened.
To support our COVID-19 response, click below or call us at 1-800-619-7301 or 416-441-1111 x291. Please include “COVID Response” in the designation field.
In collaboration with other members of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation (CCIC), PWS&D has signed on to an open letter to the Honourable Karina Gould, Minister of International Development, emphasizing the importance of international cooperation as part of Canada’s COVID-19 response.