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Foreign aid transformed amid crisis


18 May 2020 at 5:56 pm
Maggie Coggan
Overseas aid charities are scrambling to deliver programs amongst coronavirus chaos


Maggie Coggan | 18 May 2020 at 5:56 pm


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Foreign aid transformed amid crisis
18 May 2020 at 5:56 pm

Overseas aid charities are scrambling to deliver programs amongst coronavirus chaos

Coronavirus restrictions means delivering aid is far harder than it used to be. But aid agencies are finding new and creative ways to reach some of the world’s most vulnerable communities. 

Archie Law, the humanitarian director of Save the Children, told Pro Bono News that as COVID-19 spread around the world, the charity was pivoting to new ways of working and reaching vulnerable communities. 

“In places like Lebanon we are refurbishing abandoned buildings to be used as isolation centres, in Yemen we are training community health workers to support the COVID-19 response and in Australia we’ve moved many of our programs online, like our early learning play groups,” Law said. 

 “Every context is unique and requires careful planning to ensure we are meeting the needs of the most vulnerable while also keeping staff and beneficiaries safe.”

Closer to home, Save the Children and a number of other large charities have found using mobile technology to provide cash vouchers in remote parts of the Solomon Islands is highly effective.  

“Mobile technology means we can provide support directly via a person’s phone or via mobile money providers or banks, ensuring people receive help without taking unnecessary risks to get that help,” he said. 

 “Our Pacific neighbours don’t have the luxury of supports like JobKeeper, but they need help to survive the economic impacts of COVID-19.”  

In a study published last week by CARE, Live & Learn, Oxfam, Save the Children, the World Food Programme and World Vision, cash assistance programs were found to be one of the best ways to help communities affected by disaster, even when located in remote areas. 

The report aims to inform future programming decisions for disaster response so that aid agencies, private sector donors, and government agencies are prepared to help as many people as possible.

Save the Children Solomon Islands country director Vanessa Zulueta said that getting aid to the more remote communities in the Solomon Islands during a disaster was already difficult without the extra strain of COVID restrictions. 

“This study shows that cash and voucher assistance is one of the most effective ways to help communities survive emergencies, in a fast, safe and dignified manner,” Zulueta said. 

A full copy of the study can be found here. 


Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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