As the world continues to respond to the global pandemic of Covid-19, the coronavirus, the situation on the ground in every country is changing rapidly. The ACT Security Group is putting together regular updates of their advice on how to deal with this virus. The ACT Secretariat is in contact with forums and members around the world, and is looking into additional supports and responses that are possible from the Alliance. We will continue to post updates to our website as they are available, to share our recommendations and responses to this situation.
Pandemics are the most complex crises to plan for in terms of emergency response. For one, the humanitarian infrastructure is not particularly designed for scaling up at a global level. Traditionally, epidemics and pandemics are considered as health emergencies that require interventions in health systems and services. However, the current context in many countries is such that urban agglomerations and informal settlements have grown tremendously (e.g. Delhi, Kolkata, Dhaka, Manila, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Sao Paolo), and mega-camps have become the norm in dealing with massive displacement situations (e.g. Darfur, Dadaab, Zahtari, Cox’s Bazar). In addition, people on the move (e.g., Venezuela, Central America, Turkey-Greece border, Syria-Turkey border, Sahel, etc.) are a major vulnerable group, with infections expected to rise exponentially as soon as it hits them. As such the recommended approach as discussed in the Interagency Standing Committee (IASC) and other global coordination bodies is that the humanitarian response to CoVID-19 should take a multi-sectoral approach that would complement the health systems work led by the WHO and governments.
The proposed ACT Alliance response should recognize the overall principles set out by the IASC in the draft Global Humanitarian Response Plan):
ACT Alliance has launched a $12M USD appeal (a combination of Rapid Response Fund and more traditional appeal) to respond globally to the COVID-19 pandemic. Full details can be found in the appeal document here.
ACT has announced the first 14 countries to receive funding through the RRF.
ACT has announced the first 6 countries to have sub-appeals through the global COVID-19 appeal.
WHO has launched a dedicated messaging services in Arabic, English, French, Hindi, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese with partners WhatsApp and Facebook to keep people safe from coronavirus
To help in designing the programmatic interventions, members may consult the following resources developed by ACT members and other humanitarian organizations:
The ACT Malawi Forum helped coordinate a Faith Leaders COVID-19 Platform meeting. Here is the report on the meeting.
Read ACT Alliance EU Opinion piece: “The coronavirus response needs local communities and faith leaders”
ACT signed the Global Civil Society Statement “First, Save Lives: Solutions for the COVID-19 Pandemic and New Solidarity with Migrants and Refugees” here.
Joint Statement on COVID-19 by the United Nations Interagency Task Force on Religion and Sustainable Development (IATF) with the endorsement of the IATF Multi-Faith Advisory Council (MFAC) here. ACT’s General Secretary is a co-chair of the MFAC.
A statement by ACT and the WCC for World Water Day on the need for access to clean water to engage in proper hygiene in the developing world: here.
A joint statement by ACT Alliance and Religions for Peace: Urgent Action Needed to Prevent Covid-19
Two statements by CWS, and by the Cuban Council of Churches and NCC USA calling for a lifting of sanctions against countries including Cuba, Iran and Venezuela that make it harder for these countries to respond to Covid-19. CWS (EN ES); Cuban Council of Churches and NCC USA.
A statement from the National Council of Churches of the Philippines and other Philippine FBOs about Covid-19 here.
Bread for the World has produced a new resource: 10 Commandments for Responsible Pastoral Responses to the Corona-Crisis (en)
Act Church of Sweden developed a guide on Psychosocial support and staff care_COVID19
UNICEF launches a Global Multi-religious Faith in Action Covid-19 Initiative
Joint Learning Initiative on Faith & Local Communities (JLI) and World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD) together with the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University find more info here
Berkley Center Consultation on COVID-19: Exploring Faith Dimensions find here
“Healing from the Distress of the COVID-19 Crisis”: A pilot lesson for small groups to help you begin to heal from the spiritual and emotional effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, from the Trauma Healing Institute. PDF (EN ES FR)
Webinars by ACT member Presbyterian Disaster Assistance for emotional and spiritual care of those in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis here.
Practical considerations and recommendations for religious leaders and faith-based communities in the context of COVID-19 from the WHO here.
Additional information for FBOs and faith leaders is available from the WHO here.
ACT member IOCC has produced a resource called “Care Calls” for volunteers to reach out to people in their communities during this time of lockdown. More information here.
The ACT Philippines Forum has shared an infographic by the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), and CBCP-NASSA/Caritas Philippines showing the impact of faith-based groups in responding to COVID-19 in the Philippines:
A pastoral letter from the Pacific Conference of Churches to Christians in the Pacific here.
The ACT briefing paper on Gender and Faith Perspectives on COVID-19.
The Africa Regional Gender Community of Practice has released guidance on gender-focused response to COVID-19 in Africa here.
The World YWCA has developed a number of resources that highlight the gendered impact of COVID-19. You can find them here in three languages. The comic strip to explain COVID-19 to children is a great resource for teachers and parents, also in three languages. In addition, a new resource on how to host a virtual safe space during the quarantine has been created as a tool for advocates and women leaders.
The Side by Side campaign has created a resource page on Gender, Faith and COVID-19
Following up on its 14 Rapid Response Fund (RRF) projects responding to COVID-19 around the world, ACT Alliance has launched...read more
The novel Coronavirus has affected every country in the world, bringing massive disruption in its wake. ACT Alliance responded...read more
Over the past several months we have seen the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe. It is a crisis...read more
Finn Church Aid (FCA) has granted 100,000 euros to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in South Sudan, Somalia and...read more
ACT Alliance members Christian Aid and CREAS joined other churches and ecumenical organizations from 6 countries across Latin America and...read more
ACT Alliance member the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) has launched a response to support 300 households...read more
Interview with Rabia Sabri, Programme Coordinator, CWSA Afghanistan Being a woman or a girl in a patriarchal society like Afghanistan...read more
Digital organizing during COVID-19
Resources, tips and trainings by ACTLearn
As we navigate in these troubling times of Covid-19, we are increasingly challenged by working remotely and conducting meetings and trainings online. Fortunately, ACT Alliance’s learning collaboration, ACTLearn, has focused on online collaboration and learning for several years and is ready to support! ACT Alliance members can take advantage of this collaboration and its resources.
A number of opportunities are listed below:
Get inspiration, useful tips and other helpful resources for working with dispersed teams, hosting online meetings and trainings, and much more. Participation is free. The webinar is hosted by DanChurchAid’s Learning Lab.
The first webinar will take place on Thursday, March 26th from 9:00-10:00 CET. Find out more about the webinar.
Join the ACTLearn/Fabo collaboration and develop your own online courses
Learning Lab has launched a new virtual work site for experience sharing to help transition from in-person working to remote working. The site gathers resources, tips and tricks all in one place.
This is a learning gate on fabo.org for ACT Alliance Members. On the site you can find courses for ACT Alliance Members. We are currently developing the catalogue. We are excited to offer free courses on “Code of Conduct“, “Complaints”, “Facilitation” and “Religion and Development”. https://fabo.org/act