COVID-19 has touched every aspect of life, forcing all of us to focus rightfully on the immediate needs caused by the pandemic. While we’ve been wearing our masks, practicing social distancing, and absorbing the news about testing and case rates, we’ve probably thought less about the other causes we care about. It sometimes feels like a lifetime ago that we were talking about progress on the Sustainable Development Goals or the Paris Agreement. But these global challenges haven’t disappeared – and they require our commitment now more than ever.
Away from the spotlight, our Charity Alliance partners haven’t lost momentum on their work outside of global health. They’re still thinking about how to end hunger, empower women and girls, ensure access to education and help reduce inequalities. Their approaches just look different: Programs rely on texts and calls to stay connected to beneficiaries; trainings are conducted via webinar; children receive packets to learn at home; and meals and supplies are delivered with masks and social distancing protocols. But the work is still there, and progress is still happening.
It’s a complicated time to tackle cause areas that aren’t directly related to COVID-19, and yet our Charity Alliance partners remain steadfastly dedicated to their missions. To that end, we want to showcase examples of their inspiring commitment and shed some light on what’s happening beyond the front lines of COVID-19.
Case study A: Heifer International
COVID-19 is impacting local food systems all over the world, from labor shortages to disrupted markets and food price spikes. Heifer International knows that these changes will affect local economies and human health for a long time if they’re not addressed right away. That’s why they’re continuing to work with farmers and small businesses to ensure that crops are sown and harvested, sold at market and consumed safely by families around the world.
How are they able to do this while maintaining social distancing and not putting people at risk of COVID-19? The answer is technology. During this crisis, Heifer has turned to WhatsApp and Zoom to stay connected to project participants and make sure their work goes uninterrupted.
Case study B: Human Rights Watch
Restricting movement of people and goods is critical to halting the spread of COVID-19, but the implementation of these laws and regulations raises important questions about human rights. Are countries protecting the right to information and freedom of expression during this time? Are vulnerable communities like prisoners and displaced people being adequately protected? How do we address the deeply rooted wealth and health inequities this pandemic has highlighted?
These are highly important questions with complicated answers. However, we can rest assured that Human Rights Watch will continue to investigate and report on these questions while advocating for policy changes across the world.
Case study C: Feed My Starving Children
Nutritious meals are essential to the health and well-being of all people. But for charities like Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), who rely on the work of volunteers to pack and deliver meals to children and families, COVID-19 could have seriously disrupted their progress. With some quick thinking, FMSC was able to shift their operations to bulk machine packing through an existing supplier. As a result, meals and healthy ingredients are safely making their way to places like Haiti with minimal human contact to ensure that everyone has enough to eat during these difficult times.
How you can support all nonprofits right now:
- Stay passionate about the issues you care about. If you are concerned about economic development or supporting access to education, giving to those causes and staying involved is just as powerful as responding to coronavirus-specific needs. Research new organizations to follow on social media, or sign up for their newsletters. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our list of Charity Alliance partners, which can be filtered by cause area.
- Volunteer virtually. The current crisis has shown us that technology is a powerful tool. A number of our charity partners need help that can be given online. Set aside some time in your weekend to give back – check out this list to get started. Consider making it a family activity – there are some ideas that your kids will enjoy, too!
- Support a High Impact Fund. Global Impact works year-round to inspire giving across all global causes. When you give to one of our high impact funds, that money goes directly to our charity partners leading in that space. To support the work outlined in the case studies listed above, check out the funds for economic development, refugees and hunger.
Without the critical financial support they need, development and humanitarian projects that do not focus on global health will struggle to continue. This could have long-lasting effects on many important initiatives and slow our progress to creating a better world for all.
Policymakers, the philanthropic community and other key stakeholders thankfully understand the vital role these charities play in our future. Each day, there are more ways to help these charities, including through legislation and special funding campaigns. Ultimately, it is up to each of us to seek out opportunities to contribute to this good work.
So today, we ask you to think of the causes that are important to you, especially those that may be hurting, and take action so we can continue to change the world together.