Episcopal Relief & Development is supporting partners in Africa in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Africa, the organization is supporting partners as they provide food, hygiene and sanitation kits and personal protective equipment to vulnerable populations impacted by the coronavirus and subsequent emergencies. International Program staff is also working with partners to adapt existing programs in order to help reduce the spread of the virus.
In partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development, the Igreja Anglicana em Angola (IAA) is working to educate communities about COVID-19 prevention strategies and to adapt its Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Savings with Education (SwE) programs in response to the pandemic. IAA worked with communities to develop a radio campaign with information about hygiene and sanitation to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. The organization has reached 60,000 people and trained over 9,372 people on these prevention strategies. The Church has also encouraged and tracked the building of an additional 283 household hand-washing stations, providing support and hand-washing training for vulnerable families. To ensure the health and safety of participants and group leaders, IAA has adapted SwE groups to incorporate physical distancing. Community volunteers, equipped with face masks and hand sanitizers, conduct outdoor home visits and then report back on a weekly basis by telephone.
Episcopal Relief & Development supported the Province of the Anglican Church in Burundi (PEAB) as it responded to the COVID-19 Pandemic by educating rural communities with hygiene and sanitation best practices. By mobilizing existing networks of volunteers through phone trees and WhatsApp messages, the diocese raised awareness about the virus and emphasized the need for communities to look out for their neighbors.
Additionally, with Episcopal Relief & Development’s support, the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Prevention and Response program of PEAB strengthened community-based efforts to combat potential increases in violence during the pandemic. Through emergency assistance such as providing temporary shelter, food and counseling for survivors as well as expanded awareness of GBV and COVID-19 in the Church’s integrated programs, PEAB made a difference in the lives of 855 women and 591 men in the first 9 months of 2020.
The Anglican Diocese of Guinea, with Episcopal Relief & Development’s support, partnered with the Ministry of Health and Sanitation in order to educate local communities about the importance of hygiene in slowing the spread of the coronavirus. The diocese relied on the government for accurate information and best practices recommended by local health authorities. Diocesan staff and volunteers translated these messages into “common speak,” and educated their local communities through the training of clergy and youth leaders who then acted as trainers to families. The communication campaign also included social media, email and text messages targeted at community members. Additionally, the diocese distributed sanitation kits that include hand sanitizer, soap, chlorine, a bucket and paper towels to help assist families who may not readily have access to such supplies. In this work, the Anglican Diocese of Guinea built on a network of relationships mobilized and sustained in response to the West Africa Ebola Crisis.
The Anglican Diocesan Development and Relief Organisation (ADDRO) in Ghana has adapted their programs to ensure the safety of staff, volunteers and project participants. ADDRO is providing personal protective equipment and sanitizers to all staff and community volunteers such as their ECD Promoters and Climate Resilience Volunteers and has implemented physical distancing protocols to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Additionally, Episcopal Relief & Development supported all 11 Anglican dioceses in the Internal Province of Ghana in its COVID-19 response efforts:
– The Anglican Diocese of Accra leveraged the use of the diocesan clinic in Pokuase to provide cash assistance to 120 seniors and elderly in the community to help pay their medical bills. It also distributed personal protective equipment such as face masks and hand sanitizers.
– The Anglican Diocese of Asante Mampong is responding by providing personal protective equipment such as face masks to 500 vulnerable individuals as well as food packs to 120 people.
– The Anglican Diocese of Cape Coast responded by distributing food items and personal protective equipment such as face masks and hand sanitizer to the most vulnerable people.
– The Anglican Diocese of Dunkwa-on-Offin responded by donating food items, washing soap, sanitizers, and face masks to 200 individuals with compromised immune systems. The diocese also educated affected communities on ways to reduce the spread of the coronavirus using radio slots on local radio stations and Village Community Information Centers.
– The Anglican Diocese of Ho provided non-contact thermometers, handwashing equipment, personal protective equipment such as face masks and hand sanitizers, as well as food assistance (rice and cooking oil) to 605 vulnerable people across the diocese.
– The Anglican Diocese of Koforidua used its grassroots connections across 31 parishes to support 279 vulnerable elderly households with food packs that include rice and oil.
– The Anglican Diocese of Kumasi’s efforts focused on community education on COVID-19 prevention and the distribution of food and sanitary items such as hand washing buckets, sanitizers, tissue and soap to individuals impacted by the pandemic. The diocese also donated personal protective equipment such as surgical masks and gloves to three local hospitals.
– The Anglican Diocese of Sekondi provided a borehole and water tank, food items, liquid hand sanitizers to 6,300 people in the Adum Dominase, Aiyinase/Parish and Basake communities. Diocesan leaders also launched an educational campaign on COVID-19 prevention strategies to help reduce the spread of the virus.
– The Anglican Diocese of Sunyani educated local communities about COVID-19 prevention through a campaign on local radio stations. The diocese also distributed food packages to the most vulnerable people and donating personal protective equipment to support frontline workers.
– The Anglican Diocese of Tamale responded to the COVID-19 Pandemic by providing food, face masks, hand washing equipment and hand sanitizers to 2,050 people in impacted communities.
– The Anglican Diocese of Wiawso provided food packages, soap and face masks to 400 vulnerable individuals in some of the communities most affected by the coronavirus in the diocese.
The Anglican Development Services of Nyanza (ADS-Nyanza) in southeastern Kenya partnered with the Kenya Government Ministry of Health, Episcopal Relief & Development and other organizations on the prevention, control and home management of COVID-19 in 2020. ADS-Nyanza equipped their Community Health Volunteers and Early Childhood Promoters with personal protective equipment and provided handwashing facilities in strategic social places as well as supporting contact tracing in several counties.
Mission Anglicane, in coordination with local public health authorities and with Episcopal Relief & Development’s support, responded to COVID-19 through an awareness and prevention campaign that reached over 10,000 individuals. The Church leveraged its connections to the local community in this campaign. Mission Anglicane also provided targeted support, including food, medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) to over 5,000 individuals who are particularly vulnerable to the economic and physical challenges created by the pandemic.
Building on its initial response, Mission Anglicane has launched a second phase program to help teachers, parents, laborers and other groups impacted by COVID-19 to rebuild and prepare for potential future disasters. The Church will help parents with school fees and supplement teachers’ allowances. Leaders will also offer training to set up new businesses for skilled laborers such as carpenters, masons, bricklayers, bakers and restaurant workers. This support will help them rebuild savings and to meet basic needs.
Early in the pandemic, the Anglican Council of Malawi (ACM) collaborated with Episcopal Relief & Development, local health authorities and other organizations to mobilize existing networks of churches and schools to raise awareness about COVID-19. ACM provided sanitation kits to vulnerable communities such as older adults and people living with HIV/AIDS and personal protective equipment (PPE) to three local hospitals and health facilities in the dioceses of Lake Malawi and Northern Malawi.
As the pandemic evolved, ACM, with Episcopal Relief & Development’s support, remained committed to continuing to provide spiritual, social and economic services, especially in rural communities, while maintaining a safe and healthy environment for volunteers, staff and the general community. The Council continued its COVID-19 educational campaign, shifting to focus on dispelling vaccine myths, through television, newspaper and radio spots. ACM also trained healthcare professionals on COVID-19 and providing emergency equipment such as ventilators, overflow tents and additional hospital beds to help hospitals manage the growing number of cases. The Council worked to equip faith leaders with psychosocial counseling skills and trained 60 COVID-19 Task Force members so they can respond nimbly to needs created by the pandemic and to future disasters.
In January 2022, Tropical Cyclone Ana struck southern Malawi, leaving most of the country without power and displacing 200,000 people. As of January 1, less than 8% of the population of the country had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The low vaccination rate and vaccine misinformation have the potential to create a dangerous situation for those already experiencing an emergency from the cyclone. ACM, with Episcopal Relief & Development’s support, is responding to both situations by providing food, personal protective equipment and emergency supplies to meet immediate needs. Additionally, the Council is meeting with faith and community leaders to educate them about COVID-19 prevention and vaccination and to encourage them to share that information with their communities.
Anglican Social Action (ASA) supported the local government’s efforts to raise awareness about the novel coronavirus by adapting 60 Savings with Education groups to continue operating safely while minimizing the spread of the virus. ASA, with Episcopal Relief & Development’s support, is providing face masks, soap and handwashing facilities and has implemented physical distancing protocols for these groups. The organization is also encouraging the use of the buddy system, where one person brings back information from the meetings to their community. In addition, ASA distributed food parcels and face masks to vulnerable communities such as the elderly and single-parent households.
Also in support of the local government’s efforts, the Anglican Diocese of Niassa reached out to marginalized groups in Lunho and Cobue, such as orphans and the elderly with packages of sugar, salt, beans, maize and other food. Church leaders and volunteers distributed face masks and soap to these communities to help reduce the potential transmission of the coronavirus. Additionally, the diocese equipped leaders, volunteers and participants of its 78 savings groups with face masks, soap and sanitation supplies.
With support from Episcopal Relief & Development, Namibia Anglican Community Development Organization (NACDO) supported their Savings with Education groups to motivate them to continue safely engaging in their economic empowerment initiatives. NACDO supplied the 192 groups with hand-washing equipment, reusable face masks, hand sanitizers and soaps. Additionally, their regional coordinators and field facilitators were provided data packages to ensure continuity of work.
In partnership with Hope Africa, the agency distributed food parcels to the most vulnerable in rural communities in the dioceses of Zululand and Khahlamba in South Africa. In order to support this distribution, Hope Africa also provided personal protective equipment, mobile phones and data plans for volunteers and staff.
The Episcopal Church of South Sudan, particularly the development arm, SSUDRA (South Sudanese Development and Relief Agency), collaborated with the local government to educate communities about the coronavirus through radio and social media campaigns. The Church’s Task Force distributed soap, sanitizers and masks to vulnerable groups such as the elderly, nursing mothers and orphaned children, particularly those with underlying chronic diseases in hard-hit Central Equatoria. The Task Force also distributed 30,000 masks to help prevent the spread of the virus.
In the fall of 2021, SSUDRA partnered with Episcopal Relief & Development on an educational campaign in the Diocese of Juba to raise awareness about COVID-19 prevention measures. Staff and volunteers also distributed masks and sanitzers to help reduce the virus spread in public places such as schools, mosques, offices and markets.
SSUDRA, in collaboration with Episcopal Relief & Development and the local government, is planning a two-day workshop for 750 diverse volunteers in the spring of 2022. The workshop will include educational information about the virus and strategies for ways the volunteers can bring this information back to their communities and disseminate it. Additionally, the diocese is implementing a campaign to reach 50,000 people with COVID-19 educational messaging using mass media such as radio.
Episcopal Relief & Development supported a joint response by Anglican Development Services and the Church Missionary Society-Africa in working with Sudanese refugees in a refugee camp in Kamuna, Kenya. This project provided assistance, including food and sanitation supplies, to 150 marginalized households, targeting the elderly, widows and orphaned children.
With Episcopal Relief & Development’s guidance and support, the Anglican Diocese of Kondoa in Tanzania integrated COVID-19 prevention recommendations into their Savings with Education groups. Group facilitators were equipped with mobile phones so they could lead efforts remotely via text messaging and phone calls. Distribution of emergency supplies and food rations for those impacted by the virus and shutdowns was conducted using appropriate safety guidelines such as personal protective equipment and physical distancing.
Additionally, Episcopal Relief & Development partnered with Mother’s Union to leverage their network in Tanzania of more than 800,000 women to spread accurate information about the novel coronavirus and how to reduce its transmission. This campaign targeted mothers, who are often the primary caregivers for families.
In 2021, Mothers’ Union and local governing agencies updated the training materials to reflect current guidance and information about the COVID-19. Leaders of village Savings with Education groups were trained on the new curriculum so they could train their groups, effectively cascading the potential impact. This phase of the campaign included refresher trainings for leaders who participated in the first phase, as well as two-day trainings for leaders from 16 additional dioceses.
Episcopal Relief & Development is working with local church partners to distribute food and personal protective equipment for people living at the margins of communities.
Updated April 28, 2022