I am writing to you, our cherished donors, on behalf of World Accord. You usually hear from our Executive Director, David Barth, but in these unprecedented times, as president of the board, I felt it was important you hear from us as well to assure you that David, World Accord staff and partners are all healthy and well.
We understand you may be anxious to hear about the welfare and well-being of our programs and partners. All our partners’ staff are healthy at this point and attempting to work from home. This is challenging and frustrating for our dedicated partners because many of their tasks are accomplished in person. This means that a lot of progress will be halted for the time being in hopes of keeping the participants safe and healthy.
In El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Nepal, partners report that the participants who grow perishables for the market are losing their harvests. As COVID-19 spreads, it seems that different protocols are being introduced which make life significantly more difficult for farmers around the world. There is no point in trying to get their produce to markets since those same markets are closed. This has caused financial stress since many of our program participants incurred loans to buy agricultural land, seeds or livestock and may not be able to pay off their debts. Also, our partners remain uncertain of receiving funding from their other funders in Europe and the States.
Our partners across the world are being presented with an unprecedented crisis that is affecting their safety and well-being. Not only are they dealing with the threat of COVID-19 spreading through their nation; they are also facing increasingly difficult monetary issues. In all countries where program participants are engaging in micro-enterprise activities, business has stopped completely which consequently, has caused a lack of cash-flow to our participants. With this occurrence, food security and access to water has become much more difficult and inevitably, it seems that it will continue to get worse. This is why we are grateful to have such excellent leadership at each of our partner organizations during these uncertain times.
Currently, our program partners lack the proper equipment to protect themselves in the communities. As a result, most of our projects are on hold until Covid restrictions are decreased and participant safety can be assured. In the meantime, education or information on social distancing and proper hand washing is key to helping protect themselves and other participants. This education and information at least can be shared with participants using the phone.
The staff of World Accord here in Ontario are doing what they can to function as an organization while working from their homes. At the moment World Accord staff are self-isolating and are healthy, including David Barth. After an extended construction trip with other volunteers, he arrived home safely on a repatriation flight made possible by Global Affairs Canada. As well, our volunteer construction team leader, Al Wigood, elected to stay in Honduras. At the age of 90, he thought he faced more risk in the travel to Canada than to simply remain in isolation in his Honduran home.
World Accord is blessed with a community that not only supports our work but also has a sense of ownership of who we are and what we have been able to achieve over the years. We have great hope for how the world will evolve through the challenges we face as a global community. More than ever, this pandemic is demonstrating how intrinsically connected we all are across the globe. At World Accord, we are proud to cultivate the seeds that have taken root and enabled us to contribute towards this global collective through our partners’ work. We look forward to helping shape our collective future and we are grateful to have such an incredible community to stand with us. We want to support our partners in any way that we can.
If you are in a position to donate, host a virtual fundraising activity, or forward ideas of ways we might be able to creatively help our partners, we would greatly appreciate it. Thank-you for doing what you can to help us. Please stay safe. We will continue to do what we can to help those most vulnerable and attempt to end poverty and suffering.