In April 2020, we launched our Rapid Response Fund (RRF) to support the immediate needs of our partners as they responded to crises on the ground throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Our partners, who all work in grassroots community development, have had to overhaul their work plans and strategies as lockdowns and outbreaks are ongoing. This has been a tremendous effort on their part, and, for many of our partners, the RRF has been their lifeline.
What makes the RRF different from traditional grants is because it’s, well, rapid! It has proven to be critical for organizations to reach vulnerable populations quickly, allowing them to apply the fund where it is needed most.
When asked about the fund, Executive Director of TARA, Basanti, shared, “GoPhil’s support is a huge help. Without it, we would be running here and there to collect money. It enables us to focus on the implementation of the support to the Tara Outreach Center community.”
Our partners from CRN said, “Covid-19 has had a huge effect on the delivery of our programs and has meant we have been delivering emergency aid. Thank you to GoPhilanthropic for supporting us through this crisis and for their understanding and flexibility.”
For a brief period between November 2020 and April 2021, the situation stabilized slightly for most partners, and we did not receive any requests for emergency support. However, when the second wave and lockdowns hit in April this year, demand for support rose swiftly. With funding in place, our team was able to support our partners’ grassroots work, so they were able to help their communities.
We deeply appreciate the donors who have contributed to this fund. Overnight, our partners became emergency first responders in their communities when the pandemic hit. Without this fund, our partners would have faced many obstacles and challenges to provide life-saving support to their communities on top of their regular programs. We have been enormously inspired by everything the GoPhil partners have managed to achieve this year – including developing exciting and innovative new initiatives in response to the crisis. Below, we have compiled recent highlights from the RRF grants distributed since April 2021 to update you on the tireless work of our partners this year.
India faced a horrific second wave of Covid in April and May 2021, with cases and deaths very high, and hospitals and other health services totally overwhelmed. Huge numbers of the population were severely impacted by lockdowns which meant that in addition to the health risks, they were not able to earn money to feed their families.
Avani was sent $5,000 to provide 650 food relief kits to waste picker families in the Kolhapur Districts: Rajendra Nagar, Yadav Nagar, and Vadange. Since the lockdown the waste picking business has gone to a standstill and families were facing starvation. Kits included essential items like wheat, rice, sugar, turmeric, salt, lentil powder, cooking oil, groundnuts, etc., and the kits supported families for one month.
TARA was sent $4,450 for food relief and medicines for their Tara Outreach Center communities. This supported 35 families in May and 44 families in June with food relief and health and hygiene products. The additional funds that they saved will be used during the feared third wave later this year.
SPID-SMS Center received $2,500 which provided 185 food and hygiene kits to women and kids on GB Road, the red-light area where the SMS Center is based. These distributions were made in May and June to women and children trapped in the brothels who would have otherwise received very little or no support.
Shakti Shalini was sent $2,000 to support shelter home residents with balanced meals, medicines, and other basic needs when they all tested positive with Covid-19. These were essential to aid their recovery. They also used some of the funds to organize a two-day awareness camp in their communities to eliminate fears and misconceptions around the vaccination. In total, 250 people from the five socio-economically marginalized communities got vaccinated along with the residents and staff from Shakti Shalini.
They plan to utilize the remaining funds to ensure the safety and protection of our team and shelter residents during the continuing pandemic. This amount is enough to take care of the next batch of hand sanitizers, masks, gloves, as well as the sanitation of their shelter and office premises for a few months.
Vikalp Sansthan received $4,000 in May. This is being used to run 10 learning centers for children in their villages as schools are still closed in India. They currently have 500 children attending the centers – which are crucial for continuing to address equity issues by preventing an increased number of children dropping out of school and child marriage.
Sharing a border with India, the COVID crisis in Nepal was similar in magnitude and severity. In its second wave cases came across the Indian border and communities struggled with lack of hospital resources and poor crisis management, especially in rural areas where total cases are still unknown.
PHASE As a healthcare provider, the pandemic has placed a huge strain on their team, who have been tasked with continuing to provide their routine health services as well as prevent the spread of Covid in the remote communities where they work. GoPhil has provided PHASE with $9,000 in total in emergency grants since June, supporting 165 lactating and pregnant mothers in three sites in Bajura, Humla District (in the Far West of Nepal) with dry food items (rice, pulses, cooking oil, and chana). In addition, they have also provided materials to build semi-permanent housing for the 20 most vulnerable families in Dolakha who lost their homes in landslides (tragically the same community had just rebuilt their homes after the earthquake).
Child Rescue Nepal was sent $3,000 in May for oximeters, Dettol hand washing liquid, hand sanitizer, surgical masks, and gloves for health posts in three rural municipalities of Makwankpur. These health posts can treat up to 100 patients per day, so this support has been crucial in helping them to operate effectively and safely during the crisis.
Cambodia initially fared well and there were no widespread cases until February 2020. Since then, cases have risen exponentially causing numerous lockdowns affecting peoples’ ability to work and the education system dramatically.
PEPY received $2,000 in funds to support unemployed scholars/alumni and their families while they worked with their team to find new job opportunities. While unemployed, they were provided $60 a month to enable them to stay in school and focus on their studies throughout the crisis.
JWOC was sent $2,500 in May to provide cash transfers for 57 students and 239 phone top-up cards for students to access remote learning.
HUSK received $18,000 (due largely to the enormous generosity of HUSK donors) since the end of June. So far this has provided monthly food support to a total of 107 families from 6 villages.
Like the other countries where our partners work, Guatemala has had to deal with constant lockdowns and curfews while cases continue to rise. Guatemalans, specifically, have faced challenges with vaccine access. The rollout has been slow and there are still very few people who are fully vaccinated.
ASSADE was sent $6,500 between May and July to support the running clinic costs where they have had more than 370 cases of COVID-19. Funds were used to refill their oxygen tank to help patients in intensive care in addition to gloves, alcohol, and disinfectant. Overall, 5,743 patients were treated at the clinic and 374 families were impacted through their outreach work since May.
Centro Maya was just sent $5,000 last month to purchase essential medication for two months for 20 participants with neurological disorders, as well as diagnostic tests, neurology consultations with a specialist, and their transportation and food expenses to enable them to attend the consultations in San Pedro La Laguna.
Aula Magica received a grant of $2,000 in late September to provide food parcels for 37 of their facilitators located in remote villages, which have been most severely affected by COVID. This will also cover a gap in two regions for their nutritional beverage which is offered to their students every morning (for many of them, this is their main source of nutrients for the whole day). These 14 sacks will last both communities till the end of December.
Children’s Education Foundation in Vietnam re-purposed $1,821 of its program funds in August to provide emergency support to families who have lost jobs during Covid lockdowns.
We are amazed by the amount of support this new fund received and the incredible impact that our partners have been able to make. These results and the feedback from our partners have shown us how vitally important a Rapid Response Fund is to local NGOs, and we hope to continue to use RRF funding in the future to be instrumental in helping partners through natural disasters and other crises that may occur in their communities.
On behalf of our partners, the GoPhil team is hugely grateful for the immense generosity of our donor community during this time – thank you so much for helping to make all this amazing, life-saving work possible!
Donate to RRF Today!