COVID-19 knows no race. It knows no class. It knows no social structure and doesn’t abide international borders. The novel coronavirus has navigated its way around the globe, exposing how connected we are as humanity and just how many of our problems are related.
This coronavirus has shown how few countries were prepared for a health crisis of this magnitude. Those with already weak health systems stand little chance against such a contagion and will be quickly overwhelmed. The virus will spread rapidly in densely populated, poor communities where people must work despite illness just so they can buy food.
This is the disaster to which our family of organizations brings nearly 150 years of combined experience in global aid and development. Like any family, each organization in ours has a different job to do if we are to help the communities we serve in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the Middle East mitigate their risks and save lives.
IMA World Health
IMA World Health (IMA) helps fragile communities to overcome their public health challenges. It brings together a long procurement and supply chain history with a public health approach that provides technical implementation and community engagement solutions. Across six decades, IMA has developed methodologies and relationships with ministries of health and other actors that strengthen health systems and build resilience.
- IMA contributed significantly to overcoming the 2018 Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, providing contact tracing, PPE, handwashing and other interventions that now reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread. Drawing from the successes in this Ebola work, IMA continues to reinforce WASH practices and is supporting the DRC’s health system response to COVID-19 with the introduction of digital health solutions.
- Through its partnerships with local Christian Health Associations, IMA is providing information and training to front-line health care workers that serve communities where spread is most likely.
Lutheran World Relief
Lutheran World Relief’s (LWR) expertise in humanitarian assistance and rural livelihoods has mobilized its network of local partners to shift material resources and provide community-level information and training that will save lives and help to sustain fragile economies. It also mobilized thousands of engaged U.S. donors who expressed care for their neighbor in acts of love and service to reach their neighbors in need.
- LWR is adapting the accessible technology, such as SMS and mobile apps, it uses in many of its projects to share critical early warning and livelihood information with farmers to raise community awareness of COVID-19 and necessary mitigation measures.
- Generous LWR donors are making face masks to include in hygiene kits that are being shipped to at risk families in some of the world’s most challenging environments.
Ground Up Investing
Ground Up Investing (GUI) makes strategic equity placements in small agribusinesses to strengthen rural economies and to help these enterprises grow responsibly and provide better, more consistent returns for their farmers.
- GUI provides the training and capital agribusinesses need to become resilient in the face of challenges like climate change, market volatility and unexpected shocks, such as a global pandemic. GUI companies have been equipped to protect their farmers’ health and livelihoods during times like this.
- All GUI companies have instituted new health and safety measures for their staff, including buying masks from local women’s sewing groups.
Charlie Goldsmith Associates
Bringing opportunities through technology to marginalized communities is the backbone of Charlie Goldsmith Associates’ (CGA) approach to human development. Their minimized administrative structure employs in-country staff thoroughly integrated into existing local institutions and networks to foster countries’ journey to self-reliance.
- Long an advocate for cash disbursement assistance, CGA is promoting immediate cash assistance made available via cell phone as a way to reduce infection risk possible with in-person transactions. In Kenya, CGA worked with the government’s Refugee Affairs Secretariat to allow refugees to create mobile money accounts with their Refugee ID.
- CGA is adapting existing programming to fast-track money and educational resources to teachers, students, and their families while schools are closed during the pandemic.
LWR’s Farmer’s Market Coffee
LWR Farmer’s Market Coffee’s direct trade model brings coffee producers and consumers closer together in the value chain, improving income for struggling farmers while forming lasting partnerships that sustain livelihoods and supply chains, even in a pandemic.
- Information on COVID-19 preparedness and mitigation is being disseminated to farmers through the cooperatives that supply LWR’s Farmer’s Market Coffee.
We did not foresee a global pandemic when we came together to create Corus International more than a year ago. What we did envision is a holistic approach to relief and development that reduces risk and promotes resilience, a mission needed perhaps now more than ever.