Tearfund’s response to coronavirus

Covid19

Coronavirus has changed the world – it’s changed all of us. But what it hasn’t changed is our faith in God and our calling to live as Jesus commands us. We continue to love our neighbours, pray and take action, both in our local communities and across the world. We go to where the need is greatest, as Jesus would do.

In some of the poorest countries life is already difficult. Many people are already struggling to get food and clean water, earn a daily wage and are at risk from sexual and gender-based violence. The impact of coronavirus and the lockdowns used to limit its spread are compounding the huge challenges people already face.

If we act quickly we can help reduce the spread of coronavirus and minimise the potential it has to destroy lives and livelihoods in the poorest countries.

How is Tearfund responding to the coronavirus pandemic?
For more than fifty years we’ve been responding to disasters, and we’ve learned lessons which are helping us respond now. Tearfund is responding to the coronavirus through our network of local church partners around the world. Together we are:

  • Constructing taps and water tanks, and distributing essential hygiene kits.
  • Delivering emergency aid to the most vulnerable people and their communities, so people who are unable to work to earn money for food don’t go hungry.
  • Helping to promote the right messages to prevent the spread of the virus (particularly around good hygiene and sanitation).
  • Helping our partners to correct any lies and misinformation about the disease which can undermine efforts to control coronavirus and make people more vulnerable.
  • Adapting our existing projects, such as feeding centres and emergency cash assistance programmes, using our existing networks and expertise to provide rapid assistance to those in greatest need.
  • Encouraging people to pray for an end to the outbreak. We pray with faith to our God ‘who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.’ (Ephesians 3:20)

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 are developing 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?
The safety, health and well-being of staff, volunteers and the people we serve is Tearfund's main priority. We are monitoring the pandemic closely, and following the advice of the UK government, World Health Organization, Public Health England, and national governments in countries where we work.

We have issued guidance to our staff on how to manage the risks of living, working and travelling during the pandemic, whilst continuing with our programmes.

How can I best support Tearfund’s work today?
Since the start of the outbreak 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.

Your gifts will go towards vital prevention measures in the vulnerable communities we support, including essential hygiene and sanitation work, delivering emergency aid and food supplies as well helping our partners spread crucial prevention messaging.

Please give today to support our work during the coronavirus pandemic.

And alongside this we also have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reboot society and the economy in a fairer, more sustainable way. The church has a key role to play in living differently and calling for change. Find out more at www.tearfund.org/reboot

Andrew Horton

Andrew is Online News and Film Editor for Tearfund. This involves finding and writing up inspiring articles for the website, and capturing compelling stories on video.