The United Nations recently released the 2020 report on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), sharing sobering data on the world’s progress towards goals like ending extreme poverty and increasing global food security. The outlook already wasn’t positive prior to the outbreak of COVID-19. Now, the COVID-19 crisis is devastating global progress towards the Goals.

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, progress remained uneven and we were not on track to meet the Goals by 2030,” shares António Gutteres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.

“Now, due to COVID-19, an unprecedented health, economic and social crisis is threatening lives and livelihoods, making the achievement of Goals even more challenging.”

Here are some insights from Compassion’s Sidney Muisyo, Head of Global Programme, captured recently in his conversation with Jason Ballard on the Canadian Church Leaders' Podcast.

Sidney reflects on the Coronavirus’ impact on our partners child development work, and why working in partnership with the local church is more important than ever.


body3.jpgSifney Muisyo.

1. Access to food

“In the global developing world where we work, the impact of COVID-19 has been much more than the disease itself,” explains Sidney.

"Food is one example. Many countries responded in the early days of the pandemic with close downs. Some countries even placed curfews about when you’d be allowed to be outside, and when you’d be indoors. Because everybody was trying to limit the spread. One of the impacts of that decision in the countries where we work is people suddenly thought, ‘do I go out and try and make a living and eat, or do I stay indoors, be safe and die’?

“And the families and the children that we work with are already vulnerable. The majority of the families make their living day to day in the urban areas. People have small businesses or trades. Whether you’re a cobbler or you sell groceries on the roadside. You work, you eat. You don’t work, you don’t eat.

“Many families found themselves in that situation where the primary issue was food. There are no foodbanks in Togo or Ecuador. Where do the poor in Brazil go to queue for food?

body2.jpg

Emergency Covid-19 food supplies in El Salvador

“So one of the ways we’ve responded is to support families with that basic necessity. And not just families, even the church workers and even the pastors. Traditionally when we have responded to a crisis, we have known that one party can support the other. So the local church institution can respond to a crisis of famine. 

But with Coronavirus, the pastors themselves were hungry, they didn’t have food. The church workers themselves were hungry and didn’t have food. 

Now you have to keep in mind the idea of a fridge that you can stock with food doesn’t exist in the developing world. You buy food on a daily basis, from the market, and you have nowhere to store it. 


“So the basic need for food has been one of the significant needs we have seen. We have been responding and we will continue responding. In fact, thanks to sponsorship support and donations to our COVID-19 Emergency Appeal, between April-June 2020, our local church partners distributed 3,720,347 essential food packs.


2. Access to education

“The United Nations estimates that we have about 1.5 billion children who are out of school because of COVID-19. In the developed world, children and young people have online network access, and there are laptops in every home. This is a luxury, even for the middle class, for the countries where we serve.

“We work in the most vulnerable communities and they don’t have the option of online education. And even if they did have the option, there is often no space for a child to study. When you live in one room, multi-generations, where is the space to study?

“Education has a long-term impact for a child and their family to come out of poverty. So the interruption we are seeing around education is going to be significant for the children and youth in our programmes.

“Many of the churches we are working with are trying to find local, albeit limited solutions. I know one church partner who is bringing in 5-10 children at a time to provide tutoring to children to ensure they don’t fall too far behind. Others are providing tablets that children can borrow. Sadly, education will continue to be impacted until countries are able to return to their full, normal way of life.


3. Access to healthcare

“The other impact of this pandemic has been healthcare. We are seeing the uptake of childhood vaccinations not happening as normal because people are afraid to go to the hospitals. And sometimes lockdowns and curfews have been hindering the ability to get to hospitals. So we are watching this very carefully. We are concerned about the question of malaria and other vaccinations. We’re going to have to pay very close attention and play catch up.

“I’ve been very impressed with the local offices that we have in our 25 countries and the way the many churches are trying to respond. We have provided some PPE to some of the hospitals where we work because they didn’t have the resources to provide some of the basics such as masks, gloves or sanitisers. We’ve had to partner with those hospitals so they not only can protect their own staff, but also be of service to the communities.

“We have distributed more than 2,414,759 hygiene kits and provided 161,525 medical support interventions to help the most vulnerable.


The Global Church in action

“One of the things which is very interesting as we navigate a global pandemic, is we see the Church has never been more significant or relevant than at this time. It’s just absolutely amazing.

body1.jpg Church in Uganda

“In the nations where we work, there are no stimulus packages that are supporting those who are hungry, that are supporting the children who need food, that are supporting hospitals. That is why the local church is so significant. And your support has been enabling our church partners to take action.

“So thank you for standing alongside Tearfund and Compassions’ local church partners during this season. Thank you for caring for your global neighbour. Thank you for remembering the poor. Together we will rise as one global church.”

Recent posts

Why does New Zealand need a Modern Slavery Act?  

Why does New Zealand need a Modern Slavery Act?  

Monday, 10 May 2021 — Morgan Theakston

Last month, we discussed whata Modern Slavery Act will do. Now, we're looking at whyNew Zealand needs a Modern Slavery Act. This blog will bust three common myths around the following questions: does modern slavery happen in New Zealand or just overseas? Will an MSA be a financial burden? Can policy and laws truly create change? We'll also hear from Lucy Revill, author, qualified lawyer, policy advisor, and creator of  The Residents.

Read more

Five gifts you can feel good about giving this Mother’s Day!

Five gifts you can feel good about giving this Mother’s Day!

Friday, 07 May 2021 — Kate Kardol

Mother’s Day is tomorrow but if you’re still looking for that last-minute gift, or just want a gift that’s a little bit different this year, then why not buy your mum a Gift For Life and make two women smile—your mum and another mum in need across the world?

Read more

   Five talented young entrepreneurs who dreamed beyond poverty

Five talented young entrepreneurs who dreamed beyond poverty

Tuesday, 04 May 2021 — Compassion International

The impact of a sponsor’s generosity on children multiplies far beyond their childhood years. Compassion centres at local churches offer them safe spaces to learn and teach them lessons to nurture their God-given talents. Tearfund's partner Compassion, is devoted to cultivating and developing this next generation of leaders. Check out these incredible stories of talented young entrepreneurs!

 

Read more

She is not a statistic—she has a story

She is not a statistic—she has a story

Wednesday, 28 April 2021 — Grace Ellis

“It’s very powerful to put a face to human trafficking through photography. An image takes the issue straight into someone’s heart. It invites them to imagine what it would be like if the person in the photo was their daughter, their cousin, their niece or their mother. Something profoundly changes when the broader issue of human trafficking has a face, a story and a name."~ Kiwi photographer Nikki Denholm.

Setimaya* was just 19 when she was trafficked - 30 years later, she is ready to tell her story.

 

Read more

 How to get to know your sponsored child’s family

How to get to know your sponsored child’s family

Tuesday, 27 April 2021 — Compassion International

So, you most likely either have a sponsored child who is too young to write, so you are writing to their caregiver anyway, or, your sponsored child is old enough to write and you want to get to know her/his family. Here are a few connection-building letter-writing tips for both of those scenarios!



 

Read more

Three ways letter writing benefits you and the child you sponsor

Three ways letter writing benefits you and the child you sponsor

Thursday, 22 April 2021 — Kyle Davidson

My life is already so busy with my work and kids that it’s hard to find the time. I need to wait until I have more to say. My letters don’t really matter anyway. I don’t know if you can relate to any of these. If you can, you’re definitely not alone. And you’re not a bad sponsor. That said, writing letters have amazing benefits, not only to your sponsored child but to you! Let’s take a look at three benefits of writing letters to your sponsored child.

 

Read more

Sustainable agriculture transforming lives in Vanuatu

Sustainable agriculture transforming lives in Vanuatu

Monday, 12 April 2021 — Tearfund New Zealand

The key word is "sustainability". Instead of pouring money and resources into just the emergency needs, Tearfund's Farming and Enterprise partner in Vanuatu invests in a sustainable model that will hopefully outgrow the need for funding. An ambulance on the ground is unquestionably essential, but not nearly as powerful or effective as a fence on top of the cliff.

 

Read more

Show more