By Anastasia Makunu, JCAM Communications
Jesuits in Africa have been at the forefront in support of local vulnerable families within the communities where they serve. Jesuit Provinces have launched several COVID-19 emergency response efforts to confront the current global pandemic that has led to over 2000 deaths across the continent. The novel coronavirus 2019 has displaced many economically, with those who live under a dollar mostly being affected.
In response to the prevailing needs by thousands of people, the Jesuit social ministries in the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM) have embraced the call of Christ of “When I was hungry, you fed me” by launching a feeding and support program that targets 32,005 vulnerable families impacted by COVID-19 across the 25 countries within which these ministries are present namely: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Madagascar, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, Guinea-Conakry, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Central Africa Republic, Burkina Faso, DRC, Congo Brazzaville, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa. These efforts are being coordinated by the Jesuits Justice and Ecology Network (JENA) and the African Jesuits Aids Network (AJAN) with the support of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM).
This emergency relief response initiative is aimed at delivering immediate, life-saving assistance to those in urgent need in line with local priorities and needs. These interventions are guided by these themes: Health Response, Child Protection and Safeguarding, Emergency Relief, Communication & Advocacy, Social Protection sectors.
The design and implementation strategy places emphasis on active but non-contact participation and capacity building of the affected people, their communities' social centers, and government institutions.
Synergies will be created with existing programs already running in our centers in the same locations and build upon structures already present in those communities. This response will be implemented at the countries' level, especially at the existing social ministries that have a grassroots approach and reach and will be coordinated by the AJAN and JENA teams in Kenya. These teams in Kenya will also be coordinating the communication and monitoring and evaluation. The project will be implemented over the course of 3 months.
Our strategic response approach:
- Support public health responses to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic by distributing essential personal protective equipment, hand sanitizers, and distribute essential medicines to poor and vulnerable communities we serve.
- Provide life-saving assistance and protect livelihoods, prioritizing the most vulnerable and those most at risk.
- Advocate to improve governance, human rights and gender equality, community engagement and coordination, and mitigating longer term impact on fragile communities and on small to medium scale businesses.
We encourage you to support this initiative and #WalkwithaVulnerableFamily.