Oct 14, 2020

Keeping children safe during COVID-19 [Feature]

CIAM team members pack up food and sanitation kits
CIAM team members pack up food and sanitation kits

As the global coronavirus pandemic exacerbates vulnerabilities for children and youth worldwide, Global Fund for Children’s local partners are at the heart of community responses. Through its Emergency Response Fund, GFC continues to issue grants to grassroots organizations to help keep young people safe.

In March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic struck worldwide, Global Fund for Children and its local partners rapidly mobilized to respond to young people’s needs. It was clear that the pandemic would have immediate and lasting consequences for children and communities, from loss of family income and food insecurity to lack of access to healthcare, closed schools, and increasing violence at home.

As countries shut down to combat the virus, GFC’s local partners sprang into action to help families without running water receive hygiene kits, girls at risk of abuse find safe shelter, and students without reliable internet connections attend virtual classes. GFC established an Emergency Response Fund to issue cash grants to its partners serving children affected by the pandemic, approving $404,000 in emergency grants for 124 partners worldwide as of the end of September 2020.

Through all of this, GFC is also continuing to support local organizations by providing unrestricted funding, capacity support, and safeguarding practices as partners shift from emergency relief to longer-term adaptation and resilience. Together, GFC and community organizations are planning responses that will help protect and empower young people both during and after COVID-19.

Over the next six months, GFC is committed to distributing more than $1.8 million in grants to community-based organizations responding to COVID-19. This includes at least $570,000 in grants for organizations serving children and youth around the world, as well as £1 million in emergency grants to Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME*) communities in England through the Phoenix Fund.

Click this link to read the full special feature. 

Youth paint informative murals about COVID-19
Youth paint informative murals about COVID-19
Community leaders model social distancing
Community leaders model social distancing
Jun 15, 2020

Youth Leadership Council hosts global webinar

Since mid-March, Global Fund for Children has been working with our community-based partners, who are uniquely positioned to protect children and youth around the world during the coronavirus pandemic. Through our Emergency Response Fund, supporters like you are helping provide grassroots organizations with the immediate resources they need to keep young people safe and healthy during COVID-19 and beyond.
Since our last update:
On June 3, Global Fund for Children's Youth Leadership Council(YLC) invited friends and supporters to hear directly from four local leaders in Kenya, India, Mexico, and Moldova who have received emergency grants. 
The panelists were joined by viewers from across the globe. The global conversation created a firsthand look into how the global pandemic is impacting children and youth and how community-led organizations are mobilizing to respond.
Recognizing the value in the diverse expertise, geographies, and experiences of GFC partners, the Youth Leadership Council created the webinar to amplify on-the-ground accounts of challenges and responses related to the pandemic.
The event was moderated by the Chair of the Youth Leadership Council, Mete.
"It's important that people understand all the different ways the coronavirus pandemic is affecting our global community. From Mexico to Kenya, and India to Moldova, there is obvious overlap, but certain issues are very contextual. I'm glad that the young people in our council could open up this space for learning between GFC partners and those who tuned in," Mete said.
The webinar sparked the interest of hundreds of partners, peer organizations, and individual supporters. One of the questions explored by participants wasWhat do you believe worries children and youth most about COVID-19? The top four responses were education(39%), physical wellbeing(20%), mental health(16%), and child abuse(14%).
To read more about the Youth Leadership Council webinar, click here. 
Jun 8, 2020

Youth Leadership Council Hosted a Global Call

A Screenshot From the Call (permission received)
A Screenshot From the Call (permission received)

On June 3rd GFC’s Youth Leadership Council hosted a global conversation with four GFC community leaders to talk about the impact of Covid19 on children and youth. As the Covid19 pandemic continues to unfold, the Youth Leadership Council identified the need for a public discussion focusing on the challenges of community organizations and on what their on-going relief efforts look like. GFC’s community-based partners have not only rapidly mobilized to respond to young people’s emergency needs but also plan longer-term responses to protect young people during pandemic recovery and beyond. The four leaders representing GFC community-led partners from Kenya, India, Mexico, and Moldova provided an authentic look into how children and youth are being impacted and what they have been going through to adjust their programs to the current needs.

The moderator of the global call was Mete Coban, Chair of Global Fund for Children’s Youth Leadership Council, who also amplifies youth voices sitting on GFC’s board. This event, being a great opportunity created by the Youth Leadership Council, engaged 130 partners, supporters, and other interested individuals eager to connect and recognize that children and youth are heard and valued. A question was asked during the webinar on what the participants believe worries children and youth most about Covid19. The top four responses were education (39%), physical well-being (20%), mental health (16%), and child abuse (14%).

One of the speakers, Paulina Olvera Cáñez from Espacio Migrante shared that the challenges migrant families and children on the US-Mexico border face are the increased uncertainty levels, true struggles with acquiring shelter, and inability to satisfy their basic needs. Tatiana Costev presenting Institute for Rural Initiatives in Moldova and Sudha Upadhyayula from HER Choices Foundation in India described the unexpected shifts of the situation and the urgency of figuring out how to adapt their programmes to the new context. Not being able to provide offline support to the communities anymore, they had to be creative about their solutions. In Kenya, Douglas Mwangi from Oasis Mathare came up with a technological solution through an SMS tool, enabling all their beneficiaries to access the learning content shared by the organization inconsistent with having access to the internet or a smartphone.

Douglas acknowledges they were emotionally affected by the pandemic and appreciates the way GFC’s programs team was able to hold conversations with them and talk about their well-being. “I am very thankful for the GFC team being there for us,” he said. Tatiana from Moldova generously shared, “What is important in our partnership with Global Fund for Children is how GFC supports us as a team, and how they help us to grow ourselves as individuals.” Paulina from Mexico believes one of the ways to move forward is to educate themselves on racial injustice, as one of the important topics in the current context, considering the escalated racial discrimination against indigenous and black migrants.

At the end of the webinar, the other members of the Youth Leadership Council Sunga, Nasra, Katie, and Antonina shared much appreciation of the work our community leaders do. They were truly inspired and sent encouragement and solidarity to the speakers. This was an excellent discussion and invaluable experience sharing based on the feedback we received from the participants of the webinar.

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