While Australia – especially Melbourne – has been struggling with COVID-19, we can at least be sure we are supported and equipped to deal with the challenges. This is not the case in many other developing countries, where the people most impacted are those without access to secure housing, regular income, food, water and sanitation.
Anglican Overseas Aid (AOA) is taking on the challenge of COVID-19 in the countries where they work, helping local communities prepare, prevent and lessen the impacts of the coronavirus. They have adapted their programmes to ensure the communities they work with can prevent and fight coronavirus and support those most at risk.
AOA is working with local church partners, who have a trusted connection with their communities, as well as local government to provide accurate health information. They are also helping with the secondary effects of ‘lockdowns’, providing essential supplies to the most vulnerable, helping families maintain livelihoods, and improving safety for women and children.
In Kenya, AOA’s partner, Anglican Church of Kenya, Mount Kenya West Diocese (ACK), has activated its volunteer network of Nyumba Kumis (volunteer community leaders), training all 500 to educate their 10 local communities on hygiene, prevention measures and accurate information about COVID-19.
These volunteers have reached 15,000 families and distributed food, soap and masks to over 800 of the most vulnerable households. ACK is also working with these communities to prioritise child protection, and support them to start small businesses from home.
Likewise, in Mozambique, AOA’s partner, Diocese Missionária de Nampula (DoN) has engaged their community-based volunteers in the response to COVID-19. They are running a well-being initiative called Equipas de Vida (or ‘Life Teams’) which improves health knowledge in rural and remote communities.
Before March they had been educating people on good nutrition, family planning and diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria; however, now they are also talking to people about COVID-19 and how to prevent it. After the Diocese translated information from Portuguese into local languages, the Life Teams have been able to reach over 47,000 people across the north of the country.
The danger for these communities, between existing poverty and poor health services, is that they may take a long time to recover, both physically and economically. However with the support of Australian Anglicans, we can help prevent the most devastating impacts of COVID-19 for some of the world’s most vulnerable.
Anglican Overseas Aid is an overseas aid and development fund of the Anglican Church of Australia. To read more about their response to COVID-19, visit their website.Jump to next article