Like all of our brothers and sisters around the world, we are in an unprecedented season as we face COVID-19. As always, we remain in close contact with our partners and programs in the field. We know that each country is handling the situation differently, but many of our partners are taking precautions to protect staff and clients, including:
- Vigorously sharing information about the virus with clients and training them on preventative health and hygiene information
- Promoting digital financial services and mobile money apps so that clients can bank from home
- Instituting good hygiene practices for staff
- Canceling international travel
- Encouraging staff to work from home as much as possible
For our team and community here in the United States, we have taken several precautions to protect each other and practice safe social distancing:
- Our Chicago headquarters will be working remotely until at least March 30
- We are moving our donor and community meetings to be virtual
- All Opportunity events are canceled until at least April 30
- All Insight Trips have been canceled until at least April 30
While our physical gatherings and meetings are paused, we will continue to update you virtually through emails, webinars, social media, and more. In fact, if you'd like to join me on 3/25 at 12 p.m. CT, I'll be hosting a webinar with further updates. Please sign up here if you're interested.
Although we do not yet know the full impact this will have on our clients and partners, we do know this: now is not the time to withdraw, it is the time to stay. Over the past few days, I have found myself returning to the words of Sheila Ross, one of our Managers of Philanthropy:
“While we sequester ourselves with our families and adjust our lifestyle to this new reality, let us be reminded of our brothers and sisters around the globe who:
- do not have the option to have “social distance”;
- do not have the financial margin to provide care for the sick;
- do not have a backup plan for caring for their children or the elderly;
- do not know the reality of clean water and soap to wash hands;
- do not have the benefit of regular updates and proper actions to take;
- do not have the emotional or physical capacity to handle one more crisis...
My heart is especially heavy today knowing that this illness will claim the lives of vulnerable people everywhere.”
As we continue to pray for our clients and partners in the field and prepare them and ourselves here at home, please know that we are also thinking of and praying for each of you and your families. Your safety and well-being are foremost in our thoughts.
This is a new season for all of us, but I know we can, and will, navigate it together.
With each of you through this difficult time,
Chief Executive Officer