As coronavirus continues to spread, Tearfund is concerned for all people living in poverty, wherever they are in the world. We know they are the ones likely to be the most vulnerable if the outbreak hits their communities.
For more than fifty years we’ve been responding to disasters, and we’ve learned lessons which are helping us respond now.
How is Tearfund responding to the coronavirus pandemic?
From our work tackling Ebola (West Africa, 2014; Democratic Republic of Congo, 2018- present) we know that faith leaders play a vital role in conveying public health messages to communities. Tearfund is responding to the coronavirus through our network of local church partners around the world.
We’re helping them to promote the right messages to prevent its spread (particularly around good hygiene and sanitation), and to correct any lies and misinformation about the disease. We’re giving advice on how to care for and look out for their communities; to have an answer for tough theological questions about why the coronavirus has happened; and to encourage them to pray for an end to the outbreak.
Our practical work includes constructing water tanks and taps and distributing hygiene kits, as well as delivering emergency food and other supplies to the most vulnerable communities. We are adapting our existing projects, such as feeding centres and emergency cash assistance programmes, to make sure the people we’ve already been working with before the coronavirus crisis are still supported.
We are also in close contact with other humanitarian organisations to ensure we are drawing on the experience of the wider community.
What is happening to the work Tearfund was doing before coronavirus?
We work in some of the world's most challenging countries, such as Yemen and South Sudan, and are well versed in adapting our operations to serve and protect those most in need. We remain committed to going where the need is greatest, working with the local church and serving the most vulnerable people and their communities.
We are also reviewing how and where the pandemic will have the greatest impact in the countries where we work, tracking the science and listening to what local governments and partners are advising us. With this information, we plan to develop water, sanitation and hygiene programmes and livelihood activities to support the communities that we anticipate to be most affected.
What about the safety of Tearfund staff and partner organisations across the world?
At all times the health and well-being of staff, volunteers and the people we serve is Tearfund's main priority. We are monitoring the situation closely, and following the guidance of the appropriate authorities such as the World Health Organisation and Public Health England, and Foreign and Commonwealth Office guidance.
Our staff are doing all they can to comply with their own government’s regulations, and everyone who is able to is working from home.
How can I best support Tearfund’s work today?
In recent weeks we’ve faced some difficult decisions, including postponing or cancelling events and opportunities to share stories of Tearfund’s work publicly. We are concerned about what happens if we receive fewer donations, and what effect this would have on people living in poverty.
We are doing all we can to make sure we can continue to follow Jesus where the need is greatest, bringing practical help and powerful hope to the most vulnerable people, just as we have been doing for over fifty years. This is only possible thanks to the prayers and gifts of people like you.
Please give today to support our work during the coronavirus pandemic.