The economic fallout from the pandemic can be a matter of life and death for many countries in the developing world and Self Help Africa Northern Ireland has been providing assistance for families to help them fight hunger and address the impact of the pandemic through hygiene programmes.
So what can you do to help?
Well although the official case numbers of the virus on the African continent are still below two million people (at the time of going to print), health officials and international agencies believe that this could be just the tip of the iceberg in a region of the world where health services are weak, and testing is extremely limited.
By the end of this year, UN agencies estimate that up to 100 million people, many in Africa, will be pushed into extreme poverty by coronavirus, unable to feed their families, says Self Help Africa’s Head of Northern Ireland, Denny Elliott.
Denny said: “Whilst we are mindful that the pandemic has had an enormous impact on people here in Northern Ireland, it is difficult to just comprehend the profound impact that it is having on families struggling to survive in sub Saharan Africa where pre-COVID-19, hunger was already an extremely challenging issue being addressed daily on the ground by innovative assistance from Self Help Africa Northern Ireland.
“The 2020 mortality figures being estimated are staggering and having visited Uganda at the beginning of this year and witnessed the poverty first hand I am burdened for those who are literally fighting to stay alive with no food to feed their families. During my visit I saw the resilience in the eyes of the people we are helping in Uganda but there was no sense of the impending pandemic or how it would contribute to ripping out their very souls and take away their most basic of food provisions with women and children being the hardest hit.
“Already stretched and already working in some of the most under-resourced conditions, the team at Self Help Africa Northern Ireland is working tirelessly in their local communities but we need more help from the Northern Ireland public than ever before to help those most in need. It is estimated that up to 100 million additional people could be pushed into extreme poverty this year, the first rise in global poverty in over 20 years and I know that our people are some of the most generous on the planet so I have every faith that they will go the extra mile to help us avoid this impending disaster.”
In The Lancet, leaders of UN agencies have called for immediate action on child malnutrition and last year Self Help Africa Northern Ireland supported over 275,000 households to grow more and earn more from their farms and small businesses to help them earn enough to feed themselves but this year is a very different story. As well as the pandemic the community has been plagued by locusts and rains and the opportunity to produce on their farms has been greatly reduced.
Working with its partners the charity is continuing to provide assistance but whilst they have received some amazing donations for their charity shops from people across Northern Ireland who have cleared out their wardrobes and their homes during lockdown, Self Help Africa Northern Ireland needs your donations to reduce the unimaginable death toll.
Self Help Africa Northern Ireland believes in a hand up not a hand out and as little as £15 can provide soap for ten families and training on correct handwashing – something that has the potential to prevent illness, and save lives.
To help Self Help Africa Northern Ireland change a life today, please donate now: https://selfhelpafrica.org/uk/donate