A message from CEO of WeSeeHope UK, Mark Glen
On behalf of the team at WeSeeHope, I hope you and your family are safe and well as we face this difficult and uncertain situation together.
In my time as CEO of WeSeeHope UK, I have always sought to inspire and to motivate, rather than to ask. And so many of you have responded with amazing generosity. But today, I am asking. My first ask is that you might be willing to read on.
IMPACT ON OUR PARTNERS & COMMUNITIES
For 20 years, we have existed to create genuine and sustainable change for vulnerable children through our education, child rights and economic empowerment programs. These are delivered by our network of committed in-country partners in over 200 communities where they are most needed.
We are hugely concerned about the implications that the spread of COVID-19 may cause in the poor and isolated communities we are working with in Southern and Eastern Africa. I urge you to imagine what it will feel like to face this crisis with limited medical infrastructure and ability to respond.
It is currently difficult to predict the long-term social and economic implications that this may have. But we do know that to help prevent, deal with and recover from this, the communities we work with desperately need support. And that’s why, we need you – if you feel able to be alongside us at this critical moment.
IMPACT ON OUR FUNDING
Since the middle of March, we have lost 80% of the funding we were expecting to receive for the rest of our financial year (ending June 2020), and 50% for the following year. Working hard to cut back on costs to stabilize us both in the short and long term, we have reduced working time for all staff in the UK and Africa.
WE NEED YOUR HELP
With all fundraising events in the UK cancelled and corporate partnerships under threat, our ability to recover the money we need – $590,000 (£470,000) by September 2020 – is more limited than ever. The closer we can get to this target, the more we can reduce the impact of the proposed cuts on our work in the coming months. I can only imagine the pressure you are under in your own family and working lives, and so please forgive my frankness – but we must act now.
If you can help in any way, either by making a donation – big or small – it will count tenfold if you do so today. Alternatively, please take a look at our team’s “virtual” fundraising ideas for ways you, your family and friends can help at this time.
To keep you updated on the work we are doing with our partners during COVID-19 and the difference your support is making, please scroll down – we will be providing new information on this page regularly.
We, of course, fully understand that it will not be possible for some of you to help. But, if you can, thank you.
If you would like to find out about other ways to donate, or if you are already an existing regular donor and would like to increase your gift, please do get in touch at Hello@WeSeeHopeUSA.org.
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WORKING ALONGSIDE OUR PARTNERS DURING COVID-19
5th May, 2020
SHARING INFORMATION – EDUCATING AND SENSITIZING
With nationwide restrictions still in place across Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe, our partners are continuing to provide remote but very regular support to communities using phone calls and WhatsApp messages whilst they work from home.
They are ensuring vital information about COVID-19 prevention measures – such as more frequent hand washing and social distancing – and signs and symptoms, is reaching them.
- Staff from one of our partners in Pader, Uganda, are calling into local radio shows to share information about prevention measures. They are also highlighting the impact of COVID-19 on child rights and abuse, and discussing ways to protect children whilst at home.
- The team from one of our partners in Mutare, Zimbabwe, are encouraging the installation of ‘Tippy Taps’ – low-cost hand washing facilities made from locally available materials – into communities.
We are seeing that communities are taking this advice on board and are using program activities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
For example, some VIP groups in Mbale, Uganda, are now using their income generating activities to buy hand-washing facilities for their communities. Also, a Street Association in Nairobi, Kenya, has started making and selling homemade soaps and sanitizers.
ADAPTING TO THE SITUATION – SUSTAINING PROGRAM ACTIVITIES
Thanks to our partners’ expertise and innovation, we are finding ways to continue a number of economic and social program activities in communities. These are critical to ensuring vulnerable children remain supported and protected at this time.
- One of our partners in Kenya is now trialling the use of mobile banking platforms such as MPESA with VIP groups so they can continue saving and loaning without meeting in person.
- All others have encouraged VIP groups to continue to operate by adhering to social distancing rules; for example, members are going one-by-one to meet with the Treasurer and Chairperson of their group to repay and take loans, and deposit weekly savings.
- Our partner in Guruve, Zimbabwe, has set up WhatsApp groups with volunteers running Kids’ Clubs and is sharing information about continuing to provide emotional support to vulnerable children.
- In Mbale, one of our partners is regularly phoning the Child Help Desk Officers from our Child Rights Program to monitor child abuse cases registered and ensure they are followed up and managed during this time.
We are continuing to respond in line with our partners’ recommendations and needs and will, of course, keep you updated.