Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on those most vulnerable to forced labour and human trafficking. Around the world, communities already suffering from poverty and exploitation have borne the brunt of the pandemic and its economic fallout.
In April, the Freedom Fund launched an Emergency Response Fund, raising over $2m to help mitigate some of the worst effects of the crisis. As of December, we’re pleased to announce that the funds have been distributed to support 196 communities in Brazil, India, Nepal, Thailand, Myanmar and Ethiopia, directly impacting 250,752 lives.
We were delighted in the summer to share the initial assessment of the impact of our Emergency Response Fund. As we start 2021 we want to share the outcomes of the full program, what we have been able to achieve together and the lessons that we will take into the future.
We’ve summarized the lessons we learned during this crisis and highlighted the life-saving response fielded by dozens of grassroots initiatives in our new report, ’Reflecting on the year that was: Lessons from the covid frontlines.’
The ERF achieved so much with limited resources and time because the intervention was largely owned and driven by affected communities and frontline groups. The funds were used to provide small cash payments and relief supplies, as well as support advocacy on behalf of marginalised communities.
With the arrival of mass vaccinations in 2021, the world is eager to move out of crisis and into recovery mode. However, many of the structural consequences of the pandemic will continue to blight lives for many years to come. We move into the future with an even greater sense of purpose and opportunity, and a firm belief in the vital role that we and our partners have to play in the protection of vulnerable groups and the promotion of social, environmental and economic justice.
The need for investment in community resilience has never been greater, and we invite the philanthropic community to join us in our efforts to ensure that the most marginalised do not become permanent covid victims. We are humbled by the life-saving work of our frontline partners, and we are thankful to the donors who have contributed to the ERF, without whom these achievements wouldn’t have been possible.