To our PCI Family:
In a matter of days, the world around us fundamentally shifted. As the situation evolves rapidly and we all work to adapt, I sincerely hope you and your family are healthy and well. We at PCI are asking the same questions many of you are asking in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic: How do we best keep those we love and those we serve safe? How do we best reach out and help our neighbors and the most vulnerable in our local and global community?
We believe the answer begins with a return to what we’ve always known to be true: We are in this together. The fundamental connection between us, and the duty of care we have to one another, is our guiding light as we respond to these challenging times.
As an organization focused on building the long-term resilience of vulnerable communities, we know this disease outbreak will have the greatest impact on those who are already fighting hunger, extreme poverty and other serious health issues. Children and families without access to health care or clean, safe water will be hit the hardest.
PCI worked quickly over the past few weeks to put clear policies in place to ensure the safety of our staff and those we serve across 13 countries. What we have learned so far is that our communities need us now, more than ever. We are taking stock of all our programming, working to identify opportunities to help the most vulnerable and slow the spread of the virus.
You are part of our family, and we want to share a few of the latest updates with you.
In San Diego, we are offering online alternatives for teachers involved in our school-based human trafficking prevention work as well as virtual conference sessions for our border state collaborative on infant mortality. Our Healthy Start program, which supports women on their journey through pregnancy, infancy and childhood, is sharing COVID-19 information in multiple languages with local families. Messages are particularly focused on information about coronavirus in pregnancy and where to access vital resources. We are also offering video-based home visits and increasing our contact with local participants in our programs via phone.
In India, where PCI-supported female economic empowerment self-help groups support members as they build savings to prepare for and respond to emergencies, groups will continue to meet virtually and serve as platforms for awareness raising, information exchange, peer support and livelihood strengthening.
In Nicaragua, Guatemala and Tanzania, PCI’s USDA-supported school feeding programs are in the process of modifying their approaches to ensure progress can continue while protecting both our teams and the hundreds of thousands of children they support. We are making plans to shift our school meals program to providing take-home rations to families that face immediate food insecurity if school closures persist.
In Kenya, PCI’s mobile app-based service, AfriScout, combines community-defined grazing maps with satellite imagery to guide pastoralists to the nearest water and vegetation for their herds. We’ve already been sharing messages with the app’s users related to social distancing at livestock markets and other prevention measures.
Responding to this crisis is not easy for any of us, and these unplanned program shifts will present new challenges for our incredibly dedicated staff. However, we are determined to show up, even if it is virtually, for the families and communities we work with in the weeks and months to come, and to continually adapt to do our part to meet this unprecedented challenge.
Despite all the alarming news, I truly remain hopeful. We are capable of extraordinary things when we come together, and I am heartened to see governments, corporations, foundations, NGOs and individuals collaborating in new and creative ways at home and around the world.
Here at PCI, we stand in solidarity with our partners around the world who are devoted to emerging from this crisis as a stronger global community. We trust that on the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of us will have a renewed sense of hope, compassion and connection to each other and what’s most important in this world.
Thank you for your incredible support. We look forward to staying in touch and hope you will reach out to us to connect in any way that feels meaningful to you as we navigate the uncertain road ahead together.
President & CEO, Project Concern International (PCI)