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Coronavirus is an unprecedented global emergency. Covid-19 has already overwhelmed many countries throughout Europe; now, as it sweeps across Africa, South East Asia and Latin America, the world’s most vulnerable are facing a catastrophe of immense proportions

For millions of people who live in overcrowded conditions, social distancing is near-impossible. 

Those who don’t have access to clean water or medical care, or who are already vulnerable due to food shortages, are facing an emergency on many fronts.

And for women and girls trapped in lockdown, a surge in domestic violence is presenting a critical threat. 

We urgently need your support to help stop the spread of coronavirus, protect the most vulnerable and save lives.

What ActionAid is doing

ActionAid is on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis. 

We’re running emergency food distributions in countries where millions of families have no way of earning money during lockdown.

We’re distributing public health information to raise awareness about Covid-19, along with quarantine kits containing masks, hand sanitiser and soap.

And we’re putting women at the heart of our response: from Italy to Nepal, Liberia to Kenya, ActionAid-supported women’s groups are empowered to lead our response, because local women know their communities better than anyone.

Together, we’re making progress in this crisis. But there are many more people who need our help
 

Coronavirus pandemic: what’s happening in the world’s poorest countries 

The world’s poorest countries are struggling to control the coronavirus pandemic. Find out what ActionAid is doing to mobilise our response. 

Bangladesh

In Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh over 800,000 Rohingya refugees are living in densely populated camps.

More than half of the population does not have access to adequate water and at least one third of the people do not have access to soap

Recent reports indicated the spread of fake news and inaccurate information being circulated about Covid-19 in the camps. 

ActionAid is sharing approved information through trained Rohingya female volunteers, who are using mobile phones and going door to door (while maintaining social distancing) to raise awareness of the dangers of Covid-19. 

ActionAid’s four women friendly spaces have re-opened to provide women with critical services such as access to psychosocial counselling and support – to help tackle domestic violence which is predicted to increase during lockdown. 

India

1.3 billion people have been told to stay at home under lockdown in India. 

ActionAid distributed dry rations (flour, rice, pulses, milk powder) across 12 states and food packages to reach more than 55,000 of the most vulnerable families, including domestic workers and street vendors, who will have no way to earn a living during the lockdown.

We are also running 15 community kitchens for migrant and informal workers, with 120,000 families reached by 9 April 2020. 

Kenya

Informal settlements in Kenya which are overcrowded are likely to be worst affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

Women and girls, who are at the forefront of caring for the sick, home schooling, working in precarious jobs, are at a greater risk of falling through the safety net.

ActionAid has supported the humanitarian response to the Covid-19 pandemic by distributing information and myth-busting leaflets to communities through its network of women’s collectives and community groups.

We are also translating public health advice into local languages for people who may not speak English or Swahili and sending these to radio stations for them to record and broadcast to their wide audiences.

Women’s collectives are also setting up hand-washing stations in marketplaces

Liberia

Using lessons learnt during the Ebola crisis, ActionAid is distributing life-saving advice and health information through our network of local partners, including women’s rights organisations and rural women’s leaders. Social media and virtual meetings will be used for mobilising communities and spreading awareness.

During the Ebola crisis there was a dramatic increase in violence against women and girls, as police were unable to respond, support services were reduced, and survivors were left unable to access justice.

We’re calling on the government to ensure that access to justice and women’s protection are central to national response plans. Rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence spike during disease outbreaks. Women must be able to report cases during the pandemic and resources must be available to support survivors.

Lakshmi Subramani, Country Director, ActionAid Liberia.

Occupied Palestinian territories

ActionAid Palestine is one of the first NGOs to help with a Covid-19 response in the region, distributing food parcels and hygiene kits including hand sanitiser, gloves, toilet paper and soap to 1,600 people in quarantine in Bethlehem.

ActionAid is using its network of young activists who received training on how to protect themselves and others from Covid-19.

We’ve also set up women-only online spaces, providing classes on preparedness, focusing on the needs of women as they are more involved in times of crises and the first to protect their families and communities.

Senegal

ActionAid is supporting nine communities in Senegal by raising awareness on stopping the spread of coronavirus as well as providing hygiene and sanitation items such as sanitisers, wash kits, bleach and soap.

Women and girls are most affected by the coronavirus crisis

The impact of the disease caused by coronavirus is likely to be more severe on people whose health is already diminished by poorer nutrition; who have limited access to water and sanitation facilities; who have inadequate healthcare systems and who are working and living in weaker economic and political regimes

And women and girls living in poverty will be even more severely affected.

They are at the forefront of fighting the coronavirus crisis worldwide. They face an increased risk of domestic violence while under lockdown and they shoulder the burden of domestic care and informal work.

As primary caregivers and health workers, women are on the frontline of the crisis and must be empowered to take leadership roles in the response. Women and young people will be leading our work to reach marginalised communities with health messages.”

Julia Sánchez, Secretary General of ActionAid.

At ActionAid we know that in every emergency, women and girls suffer disproportionately.

That’s why we seek to put local women in charge, advising what their communities need, and overseeing the distribution of aid to the most vulnerable, to ensure fairness and transparency. They ensure that people get the life-saving aid that is their right.

About ActionAid

ActionAid is an international charity that works with women and girls living in poverty.

Our dedicated local staff are changing the world with women and girls. We are ending violence and fighting poverty so that all women, everywhere, can create the future they want.

We operate in rural and urban communities across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

We’re committed to ending the cycle of violence in communities around the world, enabling women’s economic empowerment, and supporting women’s and girls’ rights during humanitarian crises.

Where your money goes

90% of your donation, after fundraising costs, will go to support this Coronavirus Appeal. 

The remaining 10% will be retained for ActionAid’s Emergency Action Fund which will only be used for ensuring we are prepared and able to respond quickly and more effectively to future emergencies and crises. If the total amount raised for this appeal exceeds the funds needed for the response, ActionAid will transfer the remaining balance to the Emergency Action Fund. All Gift Aid claimed on donations will fund ActionAid’s work across the world, wherever the need is greatest.

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Page updated 19 May 2020