COVID-19 Response

Three girls washing their hands at a primary school in Vietnam. Photo: Action on Poverty.

(Last updated 6 May 2020)

Globally, over 3.5 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported to the World Health Organisation, and more than 243,000 people have died from the virus.

While we face major challenges in Australia, the pandemic will have even greater consequences for poorer countries with already weak public health systems who lack the resources to prevent, contain and respond to the spread of COVID-19.

One of the first lines of defence against COVID-19 is handwashing. But there are currently more than three billion people in the world who lack access to handwashing facilities. 

Social distancing also presents a significant challenge for the poorest and most vulnerable people, who often live in overcrowded conditions in informal settlements or refugee camps. 

The economic impacts of COVID-19 will also disproportionately affect the poorest people in developing countries. The UN suggests that the economic fallout from the global pandemic could increase global poverty by as much as half a billion people, or 8% of the world’s population. 

In response to this global crisis, ACFID members and their local partners are working with local authorities and communities to prevent, contain and respond to COVID-19 in over 50 developing countries. They are working to:

  • Promote public awareness of COVID-19 and share health and hygiene messages; ​

  • Provide essential supplies including protective equipment, soap, buckets and disinfectant;

  • Improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene facilities;​

  • Support local hospitals and health clinics with the supply of medicines and technical assistance; ​and

  • Provide protection for women and children at increased risk of violence and abuse due to COVID-19.

Please find out more about the valuable efforts of our members and how you can contribute to their responses below.  

You can be assured that your support to any member listed below will meet identified needs on the ground. The standards by which ACFID's members make appeals for donations for crises are set by ACFID’s Code of Conduct. This includes a responsibility to provide clear information to their donors on the emergency and the work they are doing with affected communities. All ACFID member appeals below have been checked and meet Code of Conduct requirements.

Over the past year, 17 of ACFID’s members have teamed up for the sole purpose of making a difference in times like these when the world faces devastating humanitarian crises. Believing they are stronger together, these agencies have committed to working collaboratively in the future to utilise their collective experience and strong networks on the ground to get donations to exactly where they’re needed, when they’re needed. To reflect their commitment to collaboration, their appeals have been listed together below.

Act for Peace

Act for Peace is working with local partners to prepare for and respond to the threats posed by COVID-19. In India and Gaza refugee communities are receiving health information designed to reduce transmission and identify symptoms. In Zimbabwe, our partner is reaching the general population through church networks to raise awareness of COVID-19 and distribute soap and clean water. In Pakistan our partner is assisting medical teams with training. Your gift will help support these and other vulnerable people across the globe, providing vital support throughout the life of the pandemic.
ActionAid Australia

ActionAid is on the ground in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Middle East and Latin America working with women on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis to mobilise rapidly and prevent the outbreak of the virus by getting vital health and hygiene information, protective equipment and food rations where they are most needed. ActionAid has also stepped up efforts to ensure protection of women facing increased risk of violence and exploitation.

Anglican Overseas Aid

Anglican Overseas Aid is responding to the COVID-19 crisis through our local partners, working prevent the spread of infection through promoting good hygiene practices and distributing accurate health information. We are also helping to lessen the secondary impacts of the lockdowns through distribution of essential supplies to the most vulnerable, strengthening alternative livelihoods and improving safety for women and children through support and service referrals. In Kenya and Mozambique our partners are leveraging their extensive community volunteer networks for community health education, ensuring that the most vulnerable are identified and accurate information is received at the household level.

Australia for UNHCR 

The UN Refugee Agency is racing to safeguard refugees from coronavirus. Refugees face conditions that make it almost impossible to respect coronavirus prevention measures. We’re installing hand washing stations, providing personal protective equipment, establishing isolation wards, additional hospital beds and new field clinics, and negotiating for forcibly displaced people to be included in national responses. Our frontline teams have taken on many public health crises in the past, they’re rolling out a major global operation, and they urgently need our support.

Australian Lutheran World Service

The Australian Government is providing a 10:1 grant that multiplies donors’ help through ALWS to protect communities against COVID-19. This grant will support information sharing and the purchase of health suppliesin Cambodia, Nepal, Indonesia and Somalia. Essential items to be supplied include masks, thermometers, hygiene kits, and clean water.
Baptist World Aid Australia

Transform Aid, trading as Baptist World Aid. Give your most important gift ever to stop preventable deaths and stop the rapid spread of coronavirus. Your gift will go towards hygiene education, clean water, protective gear and medical equipment to stop the rapid spread of coronavirus.
CARE Australia

CARE’s response to COVID-19 begins with our established relationships and existing networks in 100 countries. CARE has already begun building handwashing stations, providing clean water, and distributing sanitation kits - all led by our local teams, 95% of whom are from the communities where they live and work.

Currently over one billion people are living with disabilities and they are unduly impacted during times of crisis and disaster. It is imperative that CBM continues to work with our partners to ensure no one is left behind. Our COVID-19 priorities 1. Equip or partner hospitals and clinics with health care equipment, including masks and gloves. 2. People with disabilities and those most at risk are able to maintain their health and hygiene 3. Provide safe, clean water for washing and drinking and cleaning products like soap 4. Provide emergency aid packages to those facing food crisis
ChildFund Australia

ChildFund Australia has launched an emergency appeal to support vulnerable communities who are being impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. ChildFund is ramping up its programs in disease prevention and containment. This includes: distributing health information and hygiene supplies (soap and sanitiser); procuring personal protective equipment for health facilities; checking that water and sanitation facilities in local communities are safe; ensuring health messages about COVID-19 are amplified in school settings; and supporting government health authorities to prevent spread of the disease.

As the outbreak of COVID-19 reaches the most vulnerable communities across the globe the devastation could be unprecedented. Oxfam is already on the ground in some of the poorest countries, like Yemen, Bangladesh, and Timor Leste. We're distributing essential supplies including personal protective equipment (PPE) and hygiene kits. We are providing emergency materials and food to households, upgrading water and sanitation systems at refugee camps and health facilities, and continuing training and awareness-raising activities.
Save the Children Australia

Save the Children's COVID-19 appeal is focussed on saving lives by preventing and managing the spread of the pandemic in Asia and the Pacific. We are promoting hand washing and hygiene, distributing soap and hand sanitiser. We have health experts helping our teams on the ground develop and implement COVID-19 response plans. Donations will also provide vital protective equipment and medical supplies, and help to train health workers.
TEAR Australia

TEAR Australia’s ‘Remember the Poor' COVID Appeal to stand with TEAR as we work in the most difficult places and support vulnerable communities facing poverty during this COVID-19 crisis. Would you stand with us today with a one-off gift or a 6-month pledge? Your donation to TEAR Australia’s Remember the Poor Appeal will support the ongoing work of TEAR Australia as we work to overcome poverty, marginalisation and injustice. This appeal closes on 31 May 2020. Donations received after this date will be redirected to similar projects.
UNICEF Australia

Donations to UNICEF Australia's coronavirus response appeal will support infection prevention and control, delivery of protective equipment, risk communication and community engagement, child protection, education for children in affected areas


ACC International Relief

ACCIR’s Kinnected program seeks to preserve and strengthen families. COVID-19 is leading to increased vulnerability of families around the world, increasing the risks of children being separated from their families and unnecessarily placed in institutional care. Therefore, Kinnected is actively working to preserve families and support efforts to strengthen child protection and welfare systems. Our appeal will support the provision of emergency financial and food support for families, the expansion of family-based alternative care and equip those to advocate for the prioritisation of families.
Action on Poverty

Action on Poverty’s COVID-19 appeal focuses on supporting vulnerable communities in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, many of whom who have lost their incomes and are at risk of slipping further backward into poverty. Coordinating with our in-country partners, we are focusing on: increasing awareness of COVID-19 and good hygiene practices; distributing soap, sanitiser, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); and ensuring households have access to food and other essentials to see them through the crisis. 
Adara Development

Adara is seeking support for our COVID-19 response and the delivery of critical health, education, child protection and nutrition support services to vulnerable children and their communities in Uganda and Nepal. Together we will protect health workers, undertake public health awareness campaigns, support health facilities with the necessary protocols and equipment, and ensure the continuity of essential healthcare services. We will also provide educational and social support to children whose education has been disrupted and prevent child trafficking during this pandemic.
Anglican Aid

The Archbishop of Sydney’s Anglican Aid is showing the love of Jesus to impoverished communities in lockdown. We are supporting 12 international partners to provide food rations, basic essentials, soap and sanitation facilities, and hygiene education in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. Our Pakistan-based project is preventing starvation among indentured brick kiln labourers who are unable to work due to Coronavirus-imposed restrictions. In India, our project partner is supporting disabled and elderly people to access medicine.
Anglican Board of Mission

ABM is helping to equip partners with the resources they need to help communities during this crisis, both in Australia and around the world. ABM continues to be in contact with our Overseas Partners to assess and respond to this crisis. Partners are working hard on information campaigns including the distribution of handwashing and hygiene kits to prevent COVID-19’s spread. 
Australian Doctors International

Australian Doctors International (ADI) is part of the frontline COVID-19 response team in PNG providing expert advice on preparing provincial and remote hospitals to deal with the outbreak as well as supplying health workers with urgently needed PPE supplies and medicines. At the request of local health authorities, ADI are running virus education sessions for remote communities and supplying soap, buckets and hand sanitisers to help stop the spread of COVID-19. We are working with provincial hospitals to gear up for their response utilising our network of Australian volunteer doctors with PNG experience. Please give generously to support this urgent work in PNG.
Union Aid Abroad APHEDA

Right now, our partner organisations across the globe are mobilising to help their communities overcome this emergency. Some ways our partners are responding include broadcasting life-saving information, supporting refugee communities, protecting vulnerable workers, and more. 
Australian Red Cross is amplifying the efforts of our colleagues as they tackle the pandemic to contain the spread of COVID-19 and support those affected. We're supporting Pacific Red Cross National Societies in their efforts to prepare communities for COVID-19. We're supporting efforts to contain the pandemic in Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh. Aid workers are supporting pandemic preparedness, emergency operations and emergency health services. In Australia we are working with federal and state governments and thousands of volunteers across the country to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Global Development Group

GDG projects are initiating COVID-19 emergency relief programs with a focus on distributing essentials such as food and hygiene products, as well as community sensitisation material focused on sanitation and health.
International Needs Australia

Handwashing is extremely important in vulnerable communities, where people lack access to basic medical care or hygiene resources. If COVID-19 reaches these areas, the consequences would be dire. An urgent response is needed in order to provide vulnerable communities with handwashing stations, soap, sanitiser, hygiene training and protective gear.
Kokoda Track Foundation

KTF’s PNG team is at the front-line of the COVID-19 response. Health Workers at the 12 health facilities we support in the remote Kokoda region need supplies to combat COVID-19 while safely maintaining vital community healthcare services. Hygiene equipment, paracetamol, other drugs & PPE are crucial. Partnering with communities, local authorities & transport partners, we aim to keep supply lines open where healthcare access is already limited. Donations will resource our Healthy Communities response to COVID-19 & provide critical healthcare services to the 40,000 people our facilities service.
Muslim Aid Australia

MAA is responding to the COVID19 pandemic by providing International aid in countries that are struggling to deal with the immediate effects of the lockdown and lack of access to daily essentials. MAA is also assisting domestically within Australia.
Nusa Tenggara Association

NTA's COVID program is aimed at distributing key information to poor farming communities in parts of Eastern Indonesia and ramping up hygiene focused activities in the regions schools.
So They Can

While we know that in the developed world children are less likely to get the coronavirus, we don’t know if that will be true in Africa, where malnutrition and co-infections might make children more vulnerable. So They Can teams in Kenya and Tanzania expanded their work to focus on preventing the spread of coronavirus. So They Can is providing hygiene education, access to water stations and soap, and making reusable face masks. We are producing home learning packs to enable students to continue education. Donations to So They Can appeal will be used to produce learning packs and face masks.
Sustain Projects Myanmar

We are working with our partner in Yangon’s largest slum to provide food and other essential items for families who have lost their meagre source of income due to the Corona virus.
Uniting World

Your donation will help equip vulnerable communities in the Pacific, Asia and Africa to overcome COVID-19. UnitingWorld’s international partners are using their existing projects and networks to provide emergency food; access to clean water, soap and health advice to stop the spread of coronavirus; protection and support for people vulnerable to violence, and income generation activities for people in devastated economies.