COVID-19 and its continuing impact is a cross-cutting issue for EU-CORD members. This is primarily because of the need for vaccines to be made available in our partner countries so staff and programmes can run effectively and safely. EU-CORD has therefore joined the campaign advocating for a COVID-19 temporary TRIPS waiver initiated by Caritas Europe and supported by other faith networks active in Brussels.
We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a global catastrophe. Many have lost loved ones, and there have been grave impacts socially and economically. However, a 2021 Worldbank report states that while poverty has declined this year in high and middle-income countries, low-income countries (LIC) and countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are expected to see further increases in poverty in 2021.
In addition, the COVID-pandemic had led to disruptions in education, job losses which have been more severe for women, youth and less-educated workers. The pandemic has also created larger pools of vulnerable persons, resulting in further recruitment for labour or sexual exploitation in their local areas (Microsoft Word – Covid and TiP report_25JUN21 final.docx (unodc.org). Relief and development efforts worldwide have also been affected.
EU-CORD members Woord en Daad and Dorcas share their experiences.
Woord en Daad, India
In June of this year, Word and Deed India started a food distribution program in Telangana province. Director Ebenezer Thomas states: “in the first two days, we provided food for 60 families. Each family received 25 kilos of rice, 5 kilos of lentils and wheat flour, 5 litres of oil and various spices.”
Unfortunately, the organization also lost two colleagues to coronavirus, who were part of a school that partnered with Woord en Daad.
Teacher Raja Suneetha spent 31 years at the school and described Woord en Daad Director Rina Molenaar as a warm teacher “with a heart for children”. School director David Rao had extensive experience before joining the school for two years. He was considered a man with a “vision for education and a love for his profession and children.”
The vaccination program started in February-March 2021 in several phases though a part of the population is still hesitant to accept them. By May 10, 2021, Moldova had vaccinated a total of 185292 people (7% of the population). The pandemic affected older people because they had to isolate themselves due to severe restrictions imposed by the authorities. Social activities for older people had to be suspended for a year, and they have only just resumed. To help them keep their mental well-being, volunteers contacted them and encouraged them to do group activities. Schools were also periodically transferred to online studies, which affected children without internet access or needed technology.
Impact of the Pandemic on Dorcas Moldova’s Operations; Despite the restrictions, the volunteers sought to do their best to visit the project participants, provide them with food, listen to and encourage them. The children and older people were happy to see the volunteers and eager to communicate and even talk to them for hours. Consequently, they were able to draw closer to each other and build friendships.
What we’ve done so far
In July 2021, the EU-CORD secretariat signed a joint letter with ten other networks and organisations. The letter called on the EU to support the World Trade Organisation (WTO) proposal to waive the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) rules for the prevention, containment, and treatment of Covid-19.
In December 2021, EU-CORD co-authored an opinion piece on the vaccine trips waiver that calls on the EU to support a temporary suspension of Covid-19 vaccine patents: Opinion | Vaccines for all: time for the EU to rise to the challenge (wpengine.com).