Photo: Paul Jeffrey/ACT Alliance
On this Giving Tuesday, Week of Compassion lifts up the work of our partners to provide relief and respond to the effects of COVID-19. Here is just one of many stories about how we are working to help save lives during this difficult time.
In Northwestern Haiti, a fisherman rows his boat out to sea. He is fishing for his family’s livelihood. But his small boat is unable to travel very far from shore-- he can’t move past the waves and out into the deep waters. And so, like the other fishermen in his community, he ends up harvesting smaller, younger fish near the shore. As younger fish are harvested, this interrupts the production cycle-- creating a shortage over time.
Sometimes a pressing need in the moment creates an even greater challenge in the long run.
This is the case in many parts of the world right now, as challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic press those who were already struggling into even harder conditions. But Week of Compassion partners around the world are working to solve problems now, while looking ahead to long-term solutions for the future.
Together with CWS and Growing Hope Globally, Week of Compassion is addressing one urgent need-- food security--in a variety of forward-looking ways in Northwest Haiti. In Mole St. Nicolas, we will help provide fishery management training through a local fishing association. Supplying motors for the small boats will enable families to better manage their resources and catch fish that have a greater market value now. This also protects the younger fish for future reproduction, making the supply chain more sustainable over time.
Food security is just one pressing issue in the region. Another is how to prevent the spread of disease, especially in light of challenges with water supply, the availability of soap, and limited infrastructure for sharing information. While some work has been put on hold, priorities have shifted to address these critical needs. One priority for our partners has been spreading awareness about handwashing and other preventative measures, while also distributing government-produced educational materials. In remote areas where few households have radios, program staff and volunteers use a megaphone to make announcements while walking through the community, so that necessary information can be heard throughout a community. They are also planning to distribute buckets and hand sanitizer, so that people can more effectively stop the spread of germs.
Health and nutrition are both at risk in the Northwest region, as access to quality seeds becomes increasingly difficult during this time, and rain patterns are shifting, leading to recurrent periods of drought. When people resort to eating their seed reserves, it causes more shortages in the long run. In the interest of meeting both short and long-term needs, we are supporting reforestation efforts and access to water as part of a broader sustainability project. A nursery was about to open for farmers to pick up seedlings when the need for social distancing arose. This might have brought the project to a halt, but our partners, and those whom they serve, found a way to carry on with the program by having people pick up their seedlings one at a time.
The trees they are planting now are all fruit-bearing trees. Just as putting a motor on a boat means having fish tomorrow-- planting small seedlings today will provide fruit and livelihood, far into the future.
On this Giving Tuesday, help us support the work our partners are doing around the world to meet immediate needs while also looking ahead to build a hopeful, more sustainable future. When you give to Week of Compassion, the gift that you share represents an act of hope -- transforming places of great need into stories of resilience.
Please give generously and mark your gift “COVID-19 Response” to help us respond in Haiti and all over the world where this pandemic is impacting lives. 100% of your designated gift will go to assist communities in need.