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 Ireland isolation, 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. Ethiopiaid has sister offices in the UK, Australia and Canada and globally we have been able to release vital funding now 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.
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.
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 Ireland we are seeing significant investment in medical equipment, public information and support packages. 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. Inequalities will be exacerbated and the most vulnerable: women, children, people living with disabilities will be effected the most. Our partners are going to need us more than ever not just during the crisis but in the aftermath to rebuild, recover and look after the most marginalised.