Concern signs up to Climate and Environment Charter
This World Environment Day, Concern is proud to sign up to the Climate and Environment Charter for Humanitarian Organisations.
Read our 2020 annual report
With so much going on, it's hard to remember whether something happened last week or last month. That's why we wanted to go back through 2020 in pictures - our year, one photograph at a time.
From responding to a number of emergencies across the globe to taking on the Long Jump Challenge to raise funds for those impacted by COVID, 2020 has been a whirlwind!
So, let's take a step back and look at exactly what we've all been up to this last year.
In February this year, we were on the brink of a major humanitarian crisis in east Africa as massive swarms of desert locusts threatened food supplies of 13 million people. Huge swarms of the insects devastated crops in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, putting the lives and livelihoods of millions at risk.
We responded by providing cash payments to families to buy fodder for livestock, food, seeds, agricultural tools and other basic items.
When COVID-19 hit, none of us knew how much our lives would be affected. What we also didn't know was how badly it was going to affect the poorer parts of the world, where the effects of the virus were thought to be much more severe. Given the impact of the disease on countries with strong health systems, COVID-19 posed an even larger threat to densely populated countries that are already struggling with the impact of conflict, climate change and malnutrition.
The focus of our response was on maintaining our current lifesaving programmes, where possible, as well as playing our part in raising awareness of the tools that can be used to fight the spread of the infection.
Some of our response included:
To top it off with one of the hottest topics of the year, we worked with communities around the world to supply almost one million people with soap and hand sanitiser to help the fight against Covid-19. But we didn’t just provide soap – we also helped people make their own. In Cité Soleil, Haiti’s largest slum, we gave unemployed people like Sterline the skills to produce their own soap - which has now become a successful business.
On August 4, a devastating explosion occurred in Beirut, leaving more than 300,000 people homeless, over 5,000 injured, and at least 200 people killed. Lebanon had already been facing an economic crisis, an influx of refugees, and a new spike in Covid-19 cases. This meant that recovery from the explosion was extremely worrying.
Concern responded by providing emergency support to people who have had their lives devastated. We focused on providing shelter to the city’s poorest communities whose homes have been destroyed or badly damaged, as well as providing psycho-social support to individuals, including counselling.
However, we were not the only ones. Groups of passionate volunteers have been on the ground since day one and they are vital in the city’s recovery.
Moreover, our team went the extra mile to respond to the people of Beirut's trauma with compassion and humanity, and to support the incredible efforts of local volunteers who were among the first to respond. Their idea? One rose to accompany each shelter kit that she and her teammates were distributing.
It’s like a hug, which you cannot physically do because of Covid-19, but at least you can express it through the flower. They are a wonderful form of non-verbal communication that touches everyone’s heart.
In June, our colleagues in Bangladesh built cutting-edge digital booths to help increase the country’s capacity to test and screen people for coronavirus (Covid-19). The free booths became a one-stop shop for screening and sample collection – after a video consultation with a local doctor, patients with Covid-19 symptoms were directed to a sample collection booth - and within 48 hours, they received results and relevant medical advice.
After four months of successful operation, in which over 8,000 samples were collected, the booth was handed over to Directorate General of Health Services, ensuring the sustainability of the project. This incredible innovation has the potential to be scaled up across the country – particularly in more rural areas where there is a shortage of doctors and medical facilities.
After a prolonged lockdown earlier in the year, we all need to stretch our legs and get active. We launched a number of fundraising initiatives that encouraged the public to get outdoors and you really delivered.
Celebrities including Senator Lynn Ruane, actor Pat Shortt and our own Chairman John Treacy took on the Concern Long Jump Challenge and attempted to leap two metres to raise funds for those impacted by COVID-19 (you can relive those priceless videos here), while many of our incredible supporters put themselves in the position of those forced to flee from home as part of the Step In Their Shoes initiative.
Thank you to everyone that has supported us this year! We couldn't have done it without you. If you'd like to give again, please do.
From mountain trekking to marathon running, cake sales to table quizzes, there are lots of ways you can support our work.