Anglican Overseas Aid and 15 other Australian charities joined forces for the first time on Friday 6 August to launch the newly-formed Emergency Action Alliance.
In an historic collaborative effort, the humanitarian agencies have united in their campaigning and fundraising efforts to improve how Australians can support and donate when large-scale overseas humanitarian disasters take place.
The other member organisations of the Emergency Action Alliance are Action Aid, ADRA, Act for Peace, Australian Lutheran World Service, Baptist World Aid, Caritas Australia, Care, CBM, ChildFund Australia, Oxfam, Plan International, Save the Children, Tearfund Australia, Australia for UNHCR and World Vision.
These organisations are experts in humanitarian aid and specialise in different areas of disaster response.
By combining our expertise, we can implement a more targeted response to international emergencies.
The CEOs of the charities believe that through this new single fundraising entity more money can be raised more quickly, so that there can be a rapid distribution of funds allocated to where assistance is most needed.
This will save more lives and can enable the quicker and more efficient rebuilding of communities.
The Emergency Action Alliance will be activated when the most serious natural disasters and humanitarian emergencies occur. I think the Australian community will appreciate agencies coming together in a spirit of co-operation in times like this, rather than inadvertently ‘competing’ with each other.
The protracted COVID-19 pandemic has weakened the ability of many countries to respond to disasters because their resources and infrastructure are already so stretched.
The Emergency Action Alliance is a way of helping countries when major disasters, including pandemics, strike by mobilising significant resources in a highly co-ordinated and strategic way.
Anglican Overseas Aid (AOA) is a comparatively small Christian faith-based organisation. Some areas where we can make an especially strong contribution is in preparing communities for disasters through grassroots Church networks, and also in longer-term post-disaster recovery work.
AOA’s main current projects are in Kenya, Mozambique, Gaza and the Solomon Islands. We also have smaller programmes being implemented in India, Ethiopia, East Jerusalem and Vanuatu.
All of our programme areas have been affected by COVID-19, albeit in different ways. Some countries have experienced COVID-19 as a public health crisis which has seriously disrupted existing development programme activities; however, there can also be major social and economic impacts.
For example, many Pacific island countries have been largely spared from any COVID-19 outbreaks. However, local economies have been devasted by loss of tourist income and some public health measures. Many families have returned to their home islands and villages in response, but this has in turn caused food insecurity with the unexpected influx.
In some places, extended lockdowns have disrupted education and have also been linked to increases in family violence. In Kenya, for example, there have even been reports of increases in child marriage as parents struggle to feed their children.
AOA is helping by working with local churches to support vulnerable people and by pivoting towards income generation and food security initiatives, especially during ‘lockdowns’.
We are also working with churches in combatting gender-based violence in a variety of ways. This sometimes includes countering unsound theological beliefs which contribute to this violence.
The Alliance was launched at an online event on Friday, featuring prominent government leaders, media executives and charity leaders.
For more information, please visit the Emergency Action Alliance website.