Coronavirus: what CAFOD is doing

10 May 2020

A boy in Kenya washes his hands

A boy in Kenya washes his hands.

How is CAFOD responding to coronavirus?

We have launched an emergency appeal for funds, because the impact of coronavirus in countries with poor health systems will be devastating.

Families without enough to eat and without access to clean water, living with HIV or in cramped refugee camps, will be very vulnerable to coronavirus. 

Our local experts are already in these communities and ready to help those in need, prevent the spread of the virus and protect lives. Through them, you are already helping to:

  • Deliver food to where it is needed most.
  • Improve hygiene, handwashing and sanitation at the community and household level.
  • Produce radio messages, posters and leaflets in local languages on risks and prevention.
  • Train community volunteers to carry out awareness campaigns.

Your donations to support this work are needed now more than ever. 

Donate now to our coronavirus appeal

What your donations could buy:

£6 could buy a hygiene pack for a family.

£33 can give a religious leader information about coronavirus, which they can share with their community.

£260 can write, edit and broadcast a 30-second radio advert sharing news about coronavirus with isolated communities.

Are there concerns about refugee camps?

Imagine living in a refugee camp, where it's almost impossible to isolate your family from others. Coronavirus in camps for Syrian refugees, or Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, will be catastrophic for millions of people already struggling to access healthcare.

We are already on the ground alongside Rohingya and Syrian refugees and will continue our essential work providing water, sanitation and food to these vulnerable communities.

What experience does CAFOD have in responding to this sort of crisis?

We worked with local aid experts in fighting the deadly Ebola virus in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and more recently in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. These experts are rooted in their communities - a trusted presence - with exceptional reach and impact, ensuring that everyone receives the life-saving hygiene information they need.

How important is the Church as part of this response?

Matthew Carter, CAFOD's Director of Humanitarian Response, says that the role of Church and faith leaders is critical. 

The experience of our local networks mean that we can deliver clear and accurate information via trusted faith and traditional leaders, and promote good hygiene practices, which are both key to keeping people safe.

These leaders are pivotal in making sure life-saving messages are acted upon and also in breaking down the prejudice that can be shown to sufferers and survivors of a disease.

How will CAFOD respond as a member of Caritas Internationalis?

Caritas Internationalis, the global Church network CAFOD is part of, has a local presence in 165 countries. Together, we make up one of the largest aid networks in the world, with substantial knowledge and expertise in WASH – water, hygiene and sanitation – and disease control.

CAFOD holds significant technical expertise in WASH and helps to coordinate Church responses.  

But even as part of this global network of local experts, coronavirus risks disrupting our ongoing humanitarian and longer-term development work.

Donate now to our coronavirus appeal

How are you keeping local staff and aid teams safe?

Every country team is adapting to the challenges this crisis will demand, but we will make sure that local staff and aid teams on the ground put their safety first in order to continue delivering help where it is needed most.

How can I help?

Through prayer: Join us at a live stream Mass, use our coronavirus prayers or light a virtual candle in prayer and make a special donation to our work protecting lives. 

Through campaigning: Sign our new petition to the Prime Minister asking the government to put the needs of the most vulnerable first and share it with your parish networks.

With your family: If you have children in your family, please also make an appointment with us every Sunday for our online Children’s Liturgy Live.

With a regular donation: The vital work you support is needed now more than ever. Please consider a regular gift to our Emergency Response Team, that will allow us to react quickly when a crisis hits, and stay working with communities in the long term as they rebuild

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