COVID-19 is a crisis like no other. The impact on the girls and boys we serve is potentially devastating, as those who protect and provide for children succumb to the disease and vital services are put on hold. It’s affecting the lives of our supporters and of our own staff and loved ones. Yet, as often before in our history, it is at times of such crisis where we see World Vision at its best.
World Vision has a presence in 100 countries. Most staff are from the very communities we serve and therefore our response is already well under way - from Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the disease, where World Vision staff provided critical medical equipment to hospitals; to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where we are training Christian and Muslim faith leaders to keep communities safe; to Mongolia, where we partnered with the government to reach 890,000 parents with messages on how to care for children during this stressful time, using social media. We are rapidly adapting to the unprecedented nature of this crisis, turning to innovation and technology to save lives when traditional ways of working are turned on their head.
Responding to large-scale crises and challenges like this one is in World Vision’s DNA. Within an hour of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a pandemic, World Vision declared a Global Health Emergency Response. As a first phase, we have mounted a US$80 million effort to focus our initial response in 17 countries, reaching the most vulnerable children who could be the worst affected. Indeed, all the countries in which we operate have pivoted their work to be primarily focused on COVID-19.
We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our peers and partners, with whom we have longstanding and trusted relationships around the world. We are all united in our common goal to tackle this threat, and I urge governments – while facing huge domestic challenges themselves – to join in this global effort to protect children, continuing to grant access to humanitarian workers, health workers and life-saving supplies. Faith leaders also have a key role to play. We witnessed the transformational impact we can achieve through our Channels of Hope faith leader education programme which was instrumental in ending the Ebola crisis.
I deeply believe that together we can get through this. Our common humanity is stronger than this virus and I pay tribute to our staff and all the first responders saving lives on the front lines of this unprecedented crisis. This is the time to let love shine a light into the darkness of fear. We rise to this challenge together with faith, hope and complete determination, as we have so many times before in our organisation’s long history.
Andrew J. Morley,
World Vision International President and CEO