Episcopal Relief & Development continues to partner with local organizations and dioceses around the world to provide technical and financial aid in response to the novel coronavirus. The organization is in close contact with partners in 44 countries, including the United States, to assist as they adapt existing programs and to respond to specific needs created by the crisis.
In response to the physical distancing guidelines recommended by local health authorities, Episcopal Relief & Development and local partners are adapting programs to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. For example, the Anglican Development Services of Nyanza (ADS-Nyanza) in southeastern Kenya is working with the Kenya Government Ministry of Health, Episcopal Relief & Development and other organizations on the prevention, control and home management of COVID-19. ADS-Nyanza is equipping their Community Health Volunteers and Early Childhood Promoters with personal protective equipment (PPE) and providing handwashing facilities in strategic social places as well as supporting contact tracing in several counties.
Similarly, with Episcopal Relief & Development’s guidance and support, the Anglican Diocese of Kondoa in Tanzania has begun integrating COVID-19 prevention recommendations into their Savings with Education groups. Group facilitators have been equipped with mobile phones so they can lead efforts remotely via text messaging and phone calls. Distribution of emergency supplies and food rations for those impacted by the virus and shutdowns is being conducted using appropriate safety guidelines such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and physical distancing.
As COVID-19 cases grew in Myanmar, the Church of the Province of Myanmar, in partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development, established a COVID Response Committee. The Church mobilized COVID-19 health messaging and awareness resources from the Ministry of Health and disseminated information through all eight diocesan networks. Church staff then coordinated with regional government departments to identify vulnerable households in order to provide material support such as basic food, sanitation and hygiene supplies.
Episcopal Relief & Development is also working in other countries to provide emergency food and supplies to vulnerable communities impacted by the stay-at-home orders and shutdowns. In partnership with Hope Africa, the agency is distributing food parcels to rural communities in the dioceses of Zululand and Khahlamba in South Africa. The Episcopal Diocese of Ecuador is distributing food and medical supplies to the elderly, single women and children in highly impacted areas of coastal Ecuador. In Brazil, Servicio Anglicano de Diacono e Desenvolvimento (SADD), the development arm of the Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil, is providing food, hygiene and cleaning supplies to women, adolescents and children, particularly those in vulnerable communities such as those without homes, domestic violence survivors and other low-income communities. In Pakistan, the Women Development & Service Society (WDSS), a ministry of the Diocese of Raiwind, Church of Pakistan, is distributing food and emergency supplies to over 1,500 families.
Several partners are offering additional emergency support to their communities. SADD in Brazil is providing PPE such as face masks and lab coats to healthcare professionals. The Anglican Diocese of Colombo in Sri Lanka is helping to sanitize schools and to provide them with PPE and thermometers which will allow the schools to open safely when the country begins to reopen.
“Our Program Officers continue to meet virtually with partners in weekly Community of Practice calls to share knowledge and provide technical support,” said Abagail Nelson, Executive Vice President, Episcopal Relief & Development. “I am encouraged to see how our partners are learning, adapting and working together to serve their communities in this challenging time.”
Donations to the COVID-19 Pandemic Response Fund will enable Episcopal Relief & Development and their partners to continue to provide emergency assistance to communities, both in the United States and around the world, that have been impacted by the coronavirus. In the coming weeks and months, additional updates will be provided about the ongoing response to this crisis.