May 26, 2020
I hope this message finds you well. During these challenging times, I hope that you are staying healthy and able to connect with loved ones.
The COVID-19 pandemic has ushered in a period of unprecedented global disruption – a public health emergency the likes of which we have not seen in our lifetimes and economic hardship for billions of people. There continues to be significant uncertainty about how long the pandemic will last, whether and when a vaccine and/or treatment will become available, and what the global health impact and economic toll will ultimately be.
At Global Partnerships, we are keenly aware that the burden of this pandemic falls most heavily on the poorest and most vulnerable. In the developing countries where we work, healthcare systems are fragile and families living in poverty have few resources to sustain themselves through months of economic disruption.
Many microenterprises have been shuttered, halting the primary source of income for numerous low-income households. Savings have been quickly depleted, leaving people struggling to feed their families. Remittances, which can be an important source of economic support, have decreased significantly. Some agricultural supply chains are being strained, in part due to transportation interruptions, making life more difficult for smallholder farmers. For those who live in crowded, informal settlements around cities, social isolation and preventive practices like frequent hand washing are impossible, leaving those who live there vulnerable to disease.
Amidst this adversity, it is important that GP stay true to mission, lean into our work, and look for sources of inspiration.
I find such inspiration in the ongoing efforts of GP’s partners, many of whom are meeting this pandemic with resolve and innovation. One such partner is BRAC International, a global microfinance network that GP has partnered with in Liberia, Tanzania, and Uganda. Having learned from the network’s experience with the recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa, BRAC immediately began conducting telephone outreach to clients, disseminating health guidance through radio broadcasts, deploying a rapid income and food security assessment to better understand client needs, and proactively linking clients to appropriate non-profit and government resources.
Another GP partner, Acceso El Salvador, is an agricultural enterprise that purchases goods from smallholder farmers and fishers and sells them to buyers including the largest national supermarket chain. Acceso has immediately adapted their technical assistance to focus on pandemic-safe practices while providing farmers with frequent updates on which produce is in high demand. A third GP partner, Friendship Bridge in Guatemala, witnessed a precipitous drop in revenue for their female artisan clients, and immediately began working with these women to produce and sell face masks to meet a growing global need.
GP is committed to walking alongside our 88 social enterprise partners in 21 developing countries, and the millions of people living in poverty whom they serve. Our work is to help our partners navigate through to the other side of this pandemic and emerge sustainable, resilient, and impactful for the long-term.
Thank you for all that you do to make GP’s work possible.
With Hope and Gratitude,
Chief Executive Officer