The crisis, if not managed by a substantial and coordinated global response, will highlight and deepen the suffering of the less privileged especially in Africa and Asia, challenging the global solidarity. Developing countries are in desperate need of assistance –money, supplies, knowledge– to face the pandemic crisis. It is the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. It may worsen poverty, hunger, suffering and destitution for hundreds of millions of people not only in Africa but around the whole world, making 2020 the first year since 1998 that the global rate of poverty increases.
The work of charity organizations has never been an easy one but the Corona virus crisis may worsen the scenario much more. The pandemic causing deaths, illnesses and economic despair. But how is the deadly virus impacting charitable organizations and their services to Africa and other poor countries around the world?. This is a question that countries like Turkey which have been in the spotlight for extending huge sums of charity to Africa have to clearly analyse. Most countries in Africa have been beneficiaries of charity support from Turkey ranging from clean water projects, orphan education support, food support to health facilities but it is unfortunate that reports have it that many of Turkish charity and other non-government organizations around the world are losing millions of dollars as a result of COVID-19. From a simple interview with general secretary of IYILIKDER organization, the organization has lost almost half of its incomes from donations due to closure of its charity shops for the period between March and late May, non-face to face fundraising and cancellation of key events like kermis and other social gatherings which generate resources to charity organizations used to support poor populations. Indeed as this closure affects the charity organizations, the recipients of this donations are more hit.
Just in a spill of four months there has been rapid drop in fundraising revenue, travel restrictions have disrupted and hindered charity organizations to contact their clients, donors, and reach the final recipient the one in need stationed deep in that village in Africa. There are disruptions in staffing and operations, disruptions in supply chain and to make matters worse a more drop in fundraising revenue is expected over the next twelve months. The biggest impact of this as organizations try cutting services to reduce costs is the suffering of that last recipient whose situation will now move from worse to worst.
This results of the rapid drop in fundraising revenue by charity organizations has been seeing key services like extending clean safe water, health services, orphans support among other being scaled back or suspended. On top of the reduction in aid, Africa and other poor countries will see breakouts of other diseases and as more people are facing food insecurity. This period has seen many organizations implement a number of cost-saving measures such as reduction in their own salaries but many have reduced their spending on international programs in Africa and guess who suffers most. It is that orphan who spends a day with just a single meal if not an empty stomach.
Charities would need more funding to cover the funding lost because of the pandemic but more should be made to charities working internationally because if the poor are left out during this humanitarian crisis who is going to help get society’s vulnerable people through this if charities also collapse?.
I interviewed Mr. Metin Çalbay the coordinator of İnternational activities at Iyilikder Assistance and Solidarity Association and he said that ‘’we experienced an intensive period of corona virus in Turkey as far as charity is concerned.
Though the pandemic started close to beginning of the Ramadhan, this contributed an increase in aid and internal charity work in Turkey but our charity activities abroad (Africa and other poor countries) slowed down due to donors only focusing on their country’s needs which also struck high’’.
In this line I think as well as there is need to support charity organizations to contribute to the global response to Covid-19, there should be much concern to show flexibility to support core costs-which include staff and offices-and continue to maintain funding for other projects that might have been suspended because of coronavirus restrictions. It is vital that charity organizations continue to work and recover quickly from the effects of the pandemic in Africa and other poor countries where they work.
Everyone should know that now more than ever support is needed to help prevent the spread of coronavirus in vulnerable and poor communities already suffering due to disaster and climate change, and to help them cope with growing risks of hunger and even greater poverty due to the pandemic.