The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a hefty toll on people living in poverty across the world. Especially the lockdowns have had consequences causing hunger and poverty to escalate. DanChurchAid has been working full steam responding to this, as reflected in the organization's international annual report for 2020.
DanChurchAid helped more than four million people in need last year; 800,000 more than in 2019. Providing protective equipment and information about COVID-19 were an integral part of this work.
DanChurchAid's general secretary, Birgitte Qvist-Sørensen, says: "Covid-19 has exacerbated the consequences of existing crises, conflicts, and climate change. The pandemic has pushed millions of people into poverty, increased inequality - and for the first time in over 20 years, development is going the wrong way for people living in the world's poorest countries. There is a lack of food, jobs, and hope for a better future, causing people to migrate to other areas and countries. That is why there is such great demand and need for help from DanChurchAid."
According to the Secretary-General, the organization's local roots and strategic partnerships have been vital in helping more than four million people in need during the pandemic.
"We work through local organizations. We enter into partnerships with local farmers and businesses to produce food for local markets. And we do it with local staff in the offices of our 19 country programs. This approach has enabled us to adapt and continue large parts of our development work despite lockdowns and restrictions. We have also focused on distributing cash, e-vouchers, and contactless mobile transfers to refugees for several years. That model has greatly helped us during the pandemic, where protective equipment had to be distributed."
Thanks to increasing grants of approximately DKK 100 million from Danida and international donors such as USAid, the UN, and the EU, DanChurchAid has financed the provision of aid to 800,000 more people in 2020.
Reflecting on 2021, Birgitte Qvist-Sørensen does not expect there will be less need for DanChurchAid. She hopes the organization can continue to develop locally-based and innovative solutions for the benefit of people in need.
"The poorest countries will be the last to get their populations vaccinated, and this seems to create an even deeper economic abyss between rich and poor countries. It requires enormous efforts to ensure that developing countries are not left behind the economic development in the years to come. We must help fight for this in close cooperation with our donors and other partners. And our organization is very well equipped for that," says the general secretary of DanChurchAid.
DanChurchAid's total income in 2020 was DKK 889 million (DKK 785.5 million in 2019), distributed among 19 of the world's poorest countries, where the organization has around 800 employees.