A message from our Chair, Alexandra Chapman:
As you know our partners work with some of the most vulnerable and marginalised people in Ethiopia. As if life isn’t hard enough, these individuals and families are now facing COVID-19. This is an indiscriminate global disease affecting everyone but even more challenging for countries with weaker health systems like Ethiopia.
We are in close contact with our partners to assess the impact of COVID-19 on their beneficiaries, their staff and the ability to continue projects.
In the UK social distancing and frequent hand washing has become our way of life for the past few weeks. But for those who we support in Ethiopia social distancing is a privilege. Water is not always available, soap is a luxury, homes are crowded together, food prices have increased, and many livelihoods are at stake.
Ethiopiaid is committed to helping our partners to get through this crisis and maintain their essential services as best they can. We have agreed to release 2020 funding early in order that our partners can address the immediate needs of their beneficiaries. Below are some of the emergency requirements and provisions we are supporting:
Hope Enterprises are providing 25kg sacks of grain for each pupil so that they can still have at least one decent meal each day whilst the schools are shut and they are at home.
Hospice Ethiopia are providing impoverished end of life patients with supplementary food, water and medicines. They urgently require face masks and sanitisers so that their dedicated nurses can continue home visits in the slums of Addis.
The Hamlin Fistula Hospital need more personal protection equipment so that they can continue surgery for women living with fistula and prolapse.
AWSAD have had to open an emergency quarantine shelter for women and girls fleeing violence and abuse. Already more than 30 survivors have been moved from police stations where they were living alongside prisoners, to the safety of the shelter.
Closure of the Mekele Blind School has left 61 children unable to return to their families and living in the school compound. A further 23 visually impaired teenagers are living in the community fending for themselves. The school’s water supply has failed and food prices have increased. Urgent supplies of water and food are needed.
38,000 people in Afar supported by our partner APDA are desperately trying to survive the relentless locust swarms. They are malnourished and weak, and have lost so many of their animals. With agencies re-directing their attention to fight COVID-19 there is a risk that this food crisis will be forgotten. We are helping their community health workers do nutritional screening and provide food for pregnant and lactating mothers.
It is thanks to you, our committed Ethiopiaid supporters, that we have been able to respond to these immediate needs. We know that to save lives we have to move quickly to get funding to where it is needed most.
As we are discovering it is not just health that is affected but livelihoods, education and ultimately the economy. In the UK we are seeing significant investment in hospitals, medical equipment, public information and financial support packages worth billions. In Ethiopia there is no such safety net.
We are committed to supporting our partners right now and for the long term when health systems will be further weakened, loved ones will have died and livelihoods lost. Our partners are going to need us more than ever to rebuild and recover.
In a country like Ethiopia the most vulnerable will be hit the hardest.
If you are able to, please donate and help our partners carry out their vital work here.
Chair of Trustees