published in COVID-19DonorsHealth / HealthcareWalk My WayWASH on March 13, 2020

COVID-19:
Your kindness
through the crisis

You can be certain our focus remains firmly on the people you bless with your kindness and generosity.

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UPDATE: 30 April 2020

GOOD NEWS! You can still donate to use the 10:1 Australian Government Grant to support ALWS partners in Cambodia, Indonesia and Nepal promoting health guidelines to protect against COVID-19.

DONATE NOW

You can see the front line work you support through the 10:1 Grant here in Cambodia.

The encouraging support from the Australian Government for this life-protecting health promotion is the result of quick innovative thinking from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Recognising the threat of COVID-19 to communities the Australian Government already supports through ALWS and other aid agencies with what is called ANCP Grant (read more here), DFAT has implemented two important actions:

  1. DFAT now supports Australian aid agencies, including ALWS, to pivot ongoing development activities to support critical COVID-19 health promotion actions.
  2. DFAT normally requires aid agencies to ‘match’ the ANCP Grant at 20% (ie 5:1). Due to COVID-19, DFAT has changed this requirement to 10% – ie 10:1

DONATE NOW

Your action now supports our ALWS partner LWD (Life with Dignity) as they add COVID-19 health promotion to ongoing community development work. The community meeting in Kampong Speu province you see below is conducted with the Cambodian Red Cross and local government officials, delivering two key messages:

  1. How to prevent COVID-19, including social distancing
  2. How to wash hands properly, with soap and alcohol gel

You can be sure ALWS will continue to advocate to the Australian Government to increase support to communities in developing countries, especially with the threat of COVID-19.

However, we applaud the decisive action of DFAT to pivot the ANCP Grant so our partners can now do COVID-19 health promotion to help protect people.

DONATE 10:1 NOW

 

Any money raised beyond what is needed for COVID-19 health promotion actions will be used to support ongoing development work so communities can be stronger in overcoming poverty, standing up against injustice, and protecting themselves from natural disaster.

DONATE 10:1 NOW

 

 

UPDATE: 14 April 2020

The Australian Government is providing a 10:1 grant that multiplies your ALWS help 10 TIMES to fight COVID-19!

Please donate NOW to have the 10:1 Grant multiply your personal COVID-19 help 10 TIMES.

Your $50 donation can support $500 worth of essentials like N-95 masks, thermometers and Personal Protective Equipment in a country like Nepal.

Your gift of $100 becomes $1000 value for 20 litre jerry-cans of handwashing alcohol to 44 communes in Cambodia.

See the update below for more examples of how you’ll help protect people. Thank you!

DONATE NOW

Apology: on the printed version, a production error meant we showed the incorrect number of $ signs. The diagram above is correct.

 

 

UPDATE: 30 March 2020

Good news! Our local partners who deliver your help are already using your gifts to respond to COVID-19. 

Plus, the Australian Government, who support our programs in Cambodia, Nepal, Somalia and Indonesia, has acted quickly to allow us to use their funds as needed – so that our partners can work with communities to prevent and respond to the spread of COVID-19. We’re very grateful to the Australian Government and DFAT for being so proactive. 

In the table below, you can see the actions planned in four of the countries where you work. We’ll be sure to keep you updated with further plans on the way you’re helping vulnerable communities deal with COVID-19. 

 

Country

Goal

Your COVID-19 help

Nepal

5,500 Households from Morang, Jhapa, Kailali, Dailekh and Lalitpur built awareness on precaution measures from COVID-19

  • 5,500 households supported with WASH items for promoting hand-washing and self-sanitising

  • Broadcasting sensitisation message to community on COVID-19 of WHO prescribed preventive messages (in Santhali, Tharu and Nepali languages) via 4 FM radio stations

  • Forwarding WHO prescribed messages by text message to Human Rights Defenders, Group/CBOs/Cooperatives leaders and Implementing Partners by LWF to be passed on to communities

Support provincial and local governments with health equipment to protect health workers during treatment of people at their health facilities

  • Two provincial hospitals and 5 local governments will be supported with health equipment such as Personal Protective Equipment, N-95 masks, thermometers etc

  • 2 local governments in Jhapa will be supported for establishing quarantine rooms (mattress, mosquito nets and other required items)

Cambodia

Communities in 44 communes have increased awareness of preventing the spread of COVID-19

  • Distribute posters with Ministry of Health guidelines on protecting yourself from COVID-19, and proper handwashing

  • Share videos with communities with messaging about:

    • Preventing spread of COVID-19

    • When and how to wear a mask

    • How to hand wash properly

    • Message from the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports

  • Share audio messages with communities about:

    • Preventing spread of COVID-19

    • When and how to wear a mask

    • How to hand wash properly

Support communities in 44 communes with materials to promote the prevention of spread of COVID-19

  • Provide 20 litres of alcohol for handwashing to each commune

  • Provide 1 box of masks to each commune

  • Provide 2 bottles of hand sanitiser for each health promoter to demonstrate use

Somalia

1,500 students, their teachers and families have increased awareness of preventing the spread of COVID-19

  • Provide public health messaging about how to reduce the spread of COVID-19

Provide resources to prevent the spread of COVID-19

  • Provide 57,900 additional litres of safe water for hand-washing to schools

  • Provide 1,800 bars of soap for use by students and teachers at schools

Indonesia

38 villages have increased awareness of preventing the spread of COVID-19

  • Campaign using banners in each hamlet/ village and public places

38 villages have reduced risk of exposure to COVID-19 through anticipatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation training

  • Simulation for handwashing and healthy/hygienic exercises with women and youth groups as well as social distancing

Community based organisation and groups in 38 villages have increased respiratory hygiene and WASH materials and education

  • Provide and distribute masks, soap and other hygiene kits

 

A banner in Indonesia welcomes participants to an information session on COVID-19 prevention.

 

UPDATE: 24 March 2020

We want to let you know how COVID-19 may impact the people you help through ALWS.

 

1. YOUR CRITICAL ACTION

Here in Australia, we know the actions we must take to protect ourselves and our community.

This is also the focus of your work in refugee camps, where an outbreak of COVID-19 would be utterly terrifying. As you know, conditions in camps are crowded, sanitation basic, nutrition poor, and medical facilities limited.

That’s why our high priority actions are:

  • WASH: water, sanitation and hygiene (life-protecting)
  • Education: ensuring children can protect themselves
  • Food distribution: keep people strong
  • Psychosocial work: support those suffering trauma
  • Protection: looking after those most at risk

Your help focuses on those in danger of being forgotten:

  • the elderly
  • people living with disability
  • those who are sick or frail
  • orphans, and children separated from parents
  • pregnant women and lactating mothers
  • children under 5
  • the poorest

HELP NOW

 

2. DISRUPTIONS TO YOUR NORMAL WORK

COVID-19 health precautions mean there are some areas of your work that need to stop immediately:

  • group trainings in communities
  • public events
  • staff meetings

At the same time, there are already reports of fear and misinformation in communities, which can lead to panic, so it is important we remain closely connected to the people you help.

 

3. THE TEAMS YOU SUPPORT

Our key ALWS partner LWF (Lutheran World Federation) has 8,400 team members serving 2.3 million people across the world.

(In fact, out of 1,000+ UNHCR partners, LWF is 7th largest!)

LWF has asked ALWS for urgent help to support frontline workers so their work (your work!) can continue:

  • clean water
  • soap
  • hand sanitiser
  • protective clothing
  • COVID-19 training

HELP NOW


Each of us will feel the hurt of the COVID-19 challenge in different ways.

These are challenging times.

We understand that even though your heart may break for people in need, you might not feel able to help as you’d wish. That’s OK.

We will keep sharing with you about the people you already help, and boldly place before you the needs we meet as we seek to be the hands of Jesus in a world hurting so badly.

In this, we are encouraged by a verse from the Bible the LWF leadership shared with the team across the world:

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid,
but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7

Here at ALWS we refuse to be timid in the face of COVID-19.

We won’t turn away from those who need our help. Each day we are blessed to see the power of love to change lives, and so will be self-disciplined facing whatever challenges may come.

When the media is filled with horror stories each day …

… we will share good news stories of the wonderful things happening in people’s lives because of you.

When it seems hard to help as you’d like to …

… we will find ways to make your help go further – like the 11:1 matching grant we have to help displaced Rohingya people.

Thank you for your kindness which shines through the chaos. We pray God will keep you safe and calm as together we find our way past these current challenges.

 

UPDATE: 18 March 2020

As COVID-19 takes hold across our communities, all of us must work together to limit the spread of infection.

ALWS has worked hard over the last 96 hours taking on board the relevant government directives and advice from medical experts. We have also consulted with leaders in Lutheran Education, and Pastors in the regions where Walk My Way is planned.

It is clear ALWS must postpone Walk My Way
planned for Melbourne on 18 April,
and the Barossa Valley on 2 May.

This is disappointing given the wonderful energy and enthusiasm from volunteers and Walkers, and the generosity from people giving donations.

At the same time, we know how important ongoing ALWS support is to people in refugee camps, because there is real danger if COVID-19 strikes. Conditions are crowded, sanitation basic, poor nutrition common, and medical facilities limited.

And, of course, refugee children still desperately need their education.

That’s why, instead of Walk My Way, we now offer you: Walk YOUR Way

In Walk YOUR Way, you register as normal.

Ask people to support you as normal. Receive a T-shirt, LLL Sweat Towel and African Carry-Bag as normal …

… but you do Walk YOUR Way on your own – or with one other person, as per Government regulations.

You can do Walk YOUR Way on the original day, or at a time that suits you better.

You can follow our maps (Melbourne or Barossa), or walk close to home.  If 26 kilometres is too far, you can do less. If Health Advice says we must stay at home, you can do it in your backyard, over a number of days.

You can Wheel your Way with a walker, wheelchair or pram.

You can even Woof your Way with your dog!

We’re looking at:

  • providing podcast stories
  • inviting song suggestions for a Walk playlist
  • offering reflection meditations
  • and many more surprises!

(At this stage, we have not yet postponed our Gold Coast Walk My Way on 1 August, and 70th Birthday Albury walk on 17 October… but will be guided by Government advice.)

Through ALWS, it costs just $26 per year to support a refugee child to go to school.

We still dare to dream big and aim to support 10,000 children through Walk YOUR Way in 2020!

ALWS really appreciates your patience and support as we get on with the big job to change plans, contact registered Walkers, update the website …

… and look beyond our COVID-19 challenge at home to the refugee children we help through Walk YOUR Way.

 You can help by telling others about Walk YOUR Way – in your family, classroom, church, community …

… and encouraging people to:

The COVID-19 challenge makes it more important than ever that, if Health Advice permits, we step out together to help refugee children go to school …

… and show our community what it means to bring love to life!

IMPORTANT: We make these plans based on Health Advice of 17 March 2020. If Health Advice changes, we will look anew at the impact on Walk YOUR Way.

 

POST: 13 March 2020

On 12 March, the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.

At the same time, we have seen stock-markets crash.

As Australians, we have just lived through a summer of terrible bushfires. Many parts of our country continue to struggle with drought.

Naturally enough, people are feeling fear and uncertainty.

Here at ALWS, you can be certain our focus remains firmly
on the people you bless with your kindness and generosity.

The people you help through ALWS are the most threatened in the world. I think especially of those in Refugee Camps and Internally Displaced Persons Camps, in places like East Africa, Myanmar and Jordan. Forced to leave everything behind, they now live in cramped conditions with only basic health and hygiene protection.

Here, you help those most at risk – people with disability, the elderly, the sick, and children, especially those children facing the world alone.

The front-line teams you support are taking emergency steps to protect these people in the greatest danger. In other countries, where you work with the poorest and most marginalised, your teams are close to the community, have their trust, and so are in the best position to support them through this crisis.

ALWS fully understands that you personally are dealing
with the impacts of these crises on your own life.

At the same time, ALWS must stay true to our commitment to stand up for the poor, the forgotten, those left behind. So we will continue to put before you the needs of those who desperately need support … while, at the same time understanding you may not be able to respond as you’d wish to in normal times.

We will keep you updated on your work through ALWS, and the impact – if any – on what ALWS does in schools and churches in Australia.

No matter what happens in the days and weeks ahead, we hold on to the promise of Romans 8 that nothing – nothing – can separate us from God’s love.

If you have questions, call us on 1300 763 407 or email alws@alws.org.au

Learn to do good.
Work for justice.
Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless.
Go to bat for the defenseless.

 Isaiah 1:17 (MSG)