Thu 25, Jun 2020
We are posting updates and messages from our Partners as we receive them so please check this page regularly. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as we face this challenging environment together in the wake of COVID-19.
As COVID-19 spreads to all parts of our world, ABM joins our partners in prayer.
Click here to download the June edition of Partners Praying Together
25 June, 2020
PHILIPPINES COVID-19 UPDATE
Food Relief For People In The Philippines Unable To Access Markets
In response to the COVID-19 emergency, ABM was recently able to provide relief food packs to members of 13 People’s Cooperative Associations in the Visayas region of the Philippines, through its partner, IFI-VIMROD.
People in the Philippines have been among the worst affected by COVID-19 in the Western Pacific region, experiencing the second highest number of deaths in the region (after China) and the third highest number of infections (WHO figures, 17 June, 2020). To prevent the spread of the pandemic, the government has imposed stringent restrictions on people’s movements, but this has inadvertently led to many people being cut off from the markets where they normally buy food.
Getting the food parcels to the people has been a truly joint effort, involving funding from ABM and Australian Aid through the #ANCP program, and tireless work by the IFI-VIMROD staff and local government units in the region.
VIMROD have expressed their sincere thanks for ABM’s contribution. Your generous donation to ABM’s Tax Appeal can help us provide more food packs to those in need at this time.
24 June, 2020
VANUATU COVID-19 UPDATE
Why ABM’s Vanuatu partner was so well prepared for COVID-19
ABM and its partners place high value on a strengths-based approach to development and humanitarian work. This is where people tap into their existing skills and assets to solve identified problems. The approach has come into its own during the COVID-19 pandemic as the Anglican Church of Melanesia in Vanuatu (ACOM-V) uses its volunteers -- already trained and experienced in implementing Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects -- to raise awareness of COVID-19.
Eight such volunteers have been educated about coronavirus by a qualified ni-Vanuatu doctor. These volunteers have gone out to conduct awareness-raising and distribute government-approved COVID-19 brochures to 50 Anglican parishes in three provinces (TORBA, SANMA and PENAMA), a total of about 5,000 people.
In some of these parishes, the teams also visited households of people living with a disability, to ensure COVID-19 messaging was reaching this vulnerable group.
In some parishes, the teams also conducted their usual hygiene messaging as part of the regular WASH program.
Community groups previously established through ACOM’s water supply and adult literacy programs have also played a role. They have been making use of phone and text communication to get clarifications from ACOM about the latest COVID updates and directives, and to provide updates to ACOM about COVID-19 prevention measures at community level.
Impacts in the communities have not yet been formally measured but are expected to include COVID-safe behaviours such as physical distancing and more frequent handwashing with soap.
As part of the normal WASH program two more water tanks have been installed on Gaua Island since March. Now those two newly constructed tanks are expected to provide easier access to clean water, thereby improving hygiene and reducing vulnerability to COVID-19.
23 June, 2020
AUSTRALIA COVID-19 UPDATE
Rev Gloria Shipp: Walkabout Ministries Project Update
ABM has received a new report from Rev Gloria Shipp regarding her Walkabout Ministries during this time of COVID-19. Although affected by social distancing regulations for some months, we give thanks to God that Gloria’s ministry activities are largely back on track. Sadly, Gloria has had to step down from her prison chaplaincy at Dubbo’s Orana Youth Justice Centre. She asks for prayers for a new chaplain to be found. (Gloria fits into a high-risk category for COVID-19, so she wasn’t allowed to continue jail visits).
Despite the challenges, Gloria has continued to find ways to support her Elders Outreach Group members, and she looks forward to this year’s Women’s Camp going ahead.
“The Elders Outreach Group were meeting every Tuesday in the hall at Dubbo Anglican Church until early March when the Corona Virus halted activities. For the next couple of months, the Elders were supported by phone calls and the occasional quick visit by me at the front of their houses once these were allowed by law. Towards the end of May we started meeting in small groups of 5 in my home for fellowship and craft. We hope to return to the hall in July after the school holidays and then community activities when allowed.
“Weekly Bible talks continued to be held at the (Orana) Centre until mid-March when I was not allowed into the centre due to coronavirus restrictions. This made supporting the boys exceedingly difficult as I was not able to speak with them on the phone. At the end of April, after much prayer and consideration, I resigned from the Centre.
“Planning for the Women’s Camp to be held at Burrendong Dam Holiday Park in August is continuing. I have two cabins booked and a few ladies have already indicated they will be at the camp.
“Our booklet is ready to be printed for a Women of the Bible afternoon. This year we will be looking at Jehosheba and Deborah. This will most likely be held later in the year when the warmer weather returns, and restrictions are lifted more.
“I am planning on a luncheon/garden party in my back yard on Melbourne Cup Day with select members of the community invited. Once again this will all be dependent on any restrictions in place at that time.
“Outreach trips and the Reconciliation luncheon are still being considered, however we cannot plan too much with these due to current restrictions.
“NATSIAC is continuing with an Executive meeting being held over ZOOM in April, to discuss urgent matters.
“Jen [Gloria’s Admin Assistant] and I worked from our own home offices for a few weeks, keeping in touch through email and phone for ministry matters. We commenced working together in the same place in May.
“I continue to be thankful for all the support given to this ministry from ABM which enables these programs to continue.
Rev Gloria Shipp”
15 June, 2020
ZAMBIA COVID-19 UPDATE
With schools remaining closed, and a sharp reduction in family incomes caused by COVID-19, more young girls are engaging in risky behaviours such prostitution and early marriages. Young boys at a loose end with no school to go to, have started engaging in drug abuse.
ABM’s Zambian partner, ZACOP, is working hard both to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and to address these re-emerging social problems.
Gender Action Group (GAG) members from ABM’s Integrated Gender Project in Eastern Province, have been retrained, and are sharing information door-to-door about the disease. Their training and experience in conducting household awareness about gender-based violence and women’s empowerment makes them well-placed to do this new work. Men are also being taught how they and their families can help prevent COVID-19 spread, through the project’s Men Engage Networks (MENs).
These community volunteers are also working to address the fear and stress people experience as most community-based activities are curtailed. It is fear that also leads people to avoid going to the clinic when they develop any respiratory symptoms, hence risking the health of their entire family.
"The outbreak of COVID -19 is very stressful for us people in the villages. We are overwhelmed with fear and anxiety that the disease will kill us. We have heard that elderly people are more at risk of the disease, thus causing strong emotions in both adults and children in such a way that most people in villages have a feeling that COVID-19 will kill everyone,’’said one of the villagers from Mzenje.
Economically, the lock-downs have led to price rises in basic commodities. These affect the income bases of most villagers, causing many to return to greater levels of poverty.
As we too experience in Australia, many are distressed because they cannot go to church. In rural areas of Zambia, technologies like Zoom are an undreamed-of luxury. And even though the Zambian President announced that the churches can now re-open, many are unable to as they cannot meet the strict health requirements.
We continue to pray for Zambia Anglican Council Outreach Program as it works with few resources to inform and reassure their local communities at this difficult time.
26 May, 2020
ZAMBIA COVID-19 UPDATE
St John’s Theological Seminary, Zambia
Social distancing is challenging people’s very concept of community in Zambia, as reported by the Rev’d Canon Francis Mwansa, Principal of St John’s Theological Seminary, one of ABM’s longstanding partners. He writes:
“Covid 19 which is now spreading quickly everywhere in Zambia has changed the way we live, work and pray, and the way we associate with each other. Seminary life is not an exception. Students and staff are now required to wear masks both in chapel and classroom and observe a social distance of at least one metre. Africans live and do things as a community and distancing yourself to your friend does not make community. We all are to adapt to this new life of COVID-19 though from time to time you forget and you want to do things in your past normal ways. All our Churches are closed for public worship but we have kept the chapel worship open for students and staff. We pray that God will give us a cure soon.
Stay home and be Safe,
4 May, 2020
PAPUA NEW GUINEA COVID-19 UPDATE
Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea/Anglicare PNG Inc
In response to the Government of Papua New Guinea preparedness measures and response plan on COVID-19 pandemic, the Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea has gone ahead to make available information on COVID-19 to Anglican communities both in the urban and rural areas. The Anglican Health Service officers, Anglicare PNG Inc, Diocesan Secretaries, Diocese Project officers, Clergy and Volunteers (youths) have conducted awareness on precautionary measures on COVID-19 in their respective communities.
The scope of the awareness on COVID-19 is to:
Apart from awareness-raising on COVID-19, the Church is also looking into a WASH project, hand washing sinks to be installed in all Anglican Health Centres, schools and parishes, and addressing gender specific challenges due to the State of Emergency being extended for two months.
Story by Annsli Kabekabe.
Pictures by Lorraine Kutuapi and Rachel Jifuri, Anglican Church of Papua New Guinea.
This work has been made possible by a $17,000 grant from Australian Aid, through the Papua New Guinea Church Partnership Program. #CPP