COVID 19 Response
Like the sunshine and the rain (Matthew 5:45), COVID-19 is now a shared experience for all humanity. While initially being protected by their isolation and lack of international travel, GMP partners are now facing the virus at close quarters, without the government structures to effectively coordinate a response and without the health infrastructure to care for those who contract the virus.
GMP partners are responding with resilience in this difficult situation:
By continuing their project as far as possible.
All of the projects that our partners were already involved in were building the resilience of communities. That same resilience is a vital asset in resisting COVID infection and spread. Water in Zimbabwe and Vanuatu; schooling in South Sudan and Zimbabwe; sanitation in Bangladesh; livelihoods in India, Thailand and South Sudan and community initiatives in Vanuatu – all of these help provide the resilience that we take for granted in Australia, so we are encouraging our partners to continue where it is safe for them to do so. Where COVID has completely shut down an activity, we are continuing to send staff their wages, so that they don’t become casualties while they wait for conditions to change.
By making adjustments to their project. Making things work in the current environment has engaged the creativity of our partners. The Vocational students from Hosanna Ministries have made masks instead of clothes. Hosanna Ministries purchased these masks, giving them to the slum they are working in. This provided income for the students and masks for the slum community. Showers of Blessing is promoting no-contact tippy taps. Christian Mercy International (CMI) put teachers on bicycles to visit students who can’t gather at school. They are providing masks and additional handwashing facilities for senior students and staff who can still attend school. Meanwhile, Khayelihle Childrens Village (KCV) held school in shifts in their library where the children could access computers. Churches of Christ in Vanuatu and Showers of Blessing in Zimbabwe are adding COVID precautions to their workshops.
By starting an emergency project.
Some partners have started projects to support vulnerable groups who are under additional threat from COVID. So far, this has mainly been with communities who live on a day to day income. If they don’t work today, they don’t eat today. For them, the economic impact of lockdown is life threatening. In South Sudan, CMI is providing emergency supplies to internally displaced people and returnees who are day workers, running tiny businesses like tea stalls and firewood gathering. In Bangladesh, Community Advancement Forum (CAF) is doing the same with a similar group there.
The situation is constantly changing as rates of infection and restrictions by governments change. At GMP, we are giving our partners all the flexibility we can, so that they can respond quickly and effectively.
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