ACT COVID Response – One Year – Worldwide
It has now been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world. ACT, in collaboration with Religions for Peace, published a joint statement on COVID-19 on March 26, 2020 in the early days of the pandemic, and has continued to work to respond to COVID-19 since. In this article, we would like to reflect on and share what has been accomplished in our overall response to this unique challenge.
Appeals and rapid response funds
ACT has established coordination mechanisms at global, regional and country levels by the end of March 2020, then launched a Global call with a budget target of USD 12,000,000 on March 31, 2020. The appeal included both Rapid Response Fund (RRF) and appeals to address community needs identified by ACT members in many countries.
First projects announced in May 2020
More than 35 national members submitted proposals to the RRF. On May 7, 2020, ACT announced financing of the first 14 projects, totaling over $ 1.2 million in programming. Through these projects, ACT members have supported national health services, working with religious leaders to provide accurate and timely information to communities, and other vital responses to the first wave of the pandemic. They provided much needed support to the most vulnerable people in communities with a focus on gender justice. here is full ACT call.
In July 2020, ACT Alliance launched the first six sub-calls as part of its COVID-19 global appeal to address the unique situation in each of the countries to meet a variety of needs. At the beginning of September 2020, in an update the launch of a total of 16 sub-calls as part of the Global ACT Appeal was announced. In addition, three other Rapid Response Fund proposals were approved, resulting in a total of 17 FRR projects.
The impact of ACT in communities
Africa: Malawi (Rapid Response Fund, approved budget of USD 91,627)
In Malawi, the Christian Rural Development Agency (CARD) and the Evangelical Lutheran Development Service (ELDS) organized an awareness campaign to reach 2.4 million people with accurate information on COVID-19 and its prevention . They also worked with local religious leaders to provide psychosocial support to affected families.
In addition to this, the ACT Alliance Malawi Forum and the Malawi Interfaith AIDS Association (MIAA) formulated a religious platform on the response to COVID 19 in Malawi to improve the coordinated response to COVID 19 among religious actors. The platform is committed to providing support for strengthened multireligious actions and community mobilization, to fight against the COVID 19 pandemic and to mitigate its impact.
The Forum also published the “COVID-19 Joint Faith Community Response and Adaptation Framework“with the support of Christian Aid, as well as a COVID-19 Religious Leaders Platform Meeting Report and one Joint press release.
Asia: Afghanistan and Pakistan (subsidiary call, requested budget: 3,702,121 USD)
Five ACT members are engaged in a one year program which will end on July 31, 2021. The objectives are to strengthen the public health system and community engagement in some provinces of the two countries and to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 13,000 vulnerable households received cash resp. assistance checks to cover all essential needs. More than 10,643 households (74,500 people) and communities were able to practice good hygiene at the individual and collective levels using safe, appropriate and adequate water, sanitation and hygiene services. In order to strengthen their mental and emotional well-being and to cope better with the situation, 2,500 people benefit from psychosocial support.
Europe: Greece (subsidiary call, budget requested 498,151 USD)
the sub-call of Forum Europe focused on the most vulnerable Greeks and refugees living in the capital Athens for nine months (July 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021). ACT members ensured access to humanitarian assistance and protection services for refugees and local groups particularly vulnerable to the pandemic. They focused on improving essential food supplies for people in urban areas suffering from poverty as well as providing personal hygiene items for refugees living in camps. In the midst of the pandemic, refugee and migrant adults and minors were able to continue to access non-formal education and vocational skills to prevent dropout, promote integration and provide access to the labor market. job.
Latin America: El Salvador and Nicaragua (subsidiary appeal, budget received: 191,180 USD)
The COVID-19 pandemic has struck El Salvador and Nicaragua difficult – not only in economic terms, but also in social terms. They are not blocked, but economic indicators show a slowdown in the general economy which mainly affects the most vulnerable: those who work in the informal sector and the population living in high density areas. The economic gap between the rich and the poor is widening.
The vaccination process is underway in both countries, although it is marred by a lack of access to information and complicated logistics. There are digital gaps because the platforms for obtaining information in some cases depend on access to the Internet or mobile phone. And finally, there is no up-to-date and reliable data on vaccines and victims.
Work related to mental health and psychosocial care is not framed by these facts. It is a vicious circle between the need for psychosocial well-being and economic stability.
In both countries, ACT members between November 2020 and September 2021 focus on access to drinking water, hygiene and biosecurity measures as well as psychosocial support. At least 1,200 people (families and vulnerable groups) obtain the necessary resources to reactivate their livelihoods or undertake new productive initiatives that have enabled them to guarantee a life in dignity. 700 beneficiaries (each representing a household) participated in three workshops on psychosocial support in order to reproduce the learning in their families with the help of a team of promoters. In order to prevent gender-based violence (GBV), workshops on gender justice have sensitized nearly 300 target people who are now able to identify, prevent and report cases of GBV.
Middle East / North Africa: Lebanon (Rapid Response Fund, approved budget: USD 99,933)
The Middle East Council of Churches’ Palestinian Refugee Service Department (DSPR-MECC) targeted 440 households in four different regions of Lebanon, including Syrian families living in the camps. The project was initially carried out from October 2020 to January 2021, but was then extended until March 18 as the 2nd distribution round was delayed due to lockdowns in Lebanon. It consisted of cash grants for food, clean water, medicine, hygiene kits, and rent subsidies.
A separate RRF project launched after a disastrous bomb explosion in Beirut ($ 150,000) (for DSPR and MECC) included hygiene supplies and protective equipment to prevent the spread of COVID-19 . Later, the Lebanon Forum developed a appeal to continue the answer. “ACT Alliance gave us our first support thanks to its emergency funds [Rapid Response Fund] while we reached out to other donors for help, ”said Sylvia Haddad of the Joint Christian Committee for Social Service in Lebanon (DSPR-JCC), ACT member, Department of Palestinian Refugee Service (DSPR) ).
Advocacy and resources
A global action as good as regional multi-stakeholder meetingsto address COVID-19 took place throughout 2020. The 7th Annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations in International Affairs ) focused on accelerating gender equality, equity and justice in the context of a world changed by the pandemic. ACT was one of the early leaders among faith-based organizations in advocating for equitable access to vaccines (link to advocacy statement).
the COVID-19 page on ACT websiteoffers all kinds of news, resources and guidance on the pandemic and its aftermath.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the ACT Alliance has called on people, governments, multilateral institutions and civil society organizations, including religious communities, to take decisive and forward-looking action on the COVID-19 pandemic. ACT Alliance Secretary General Rudelmar Bueno de Faria said: “The battle to leave no one behind has become more difficult. My greatest hope is that at the end of this pandemic, we can say that we found new innovative and effective partnerships and collaborated with all kinds of different stakeholders and faith-based actors to reduce inequalities and discrimination around the world. “