The third of 3 CAFOD harvest briefings took place on 19 September. We had 13 people attended from all over the diocese.
Deborah Purfield (CAFOD coordinator) thanked all for their support and shared how with their help, CAFOD has managed to raise over £2.5m for the Coronavirus appeal. The following video was shared:
We were really blessed to have Kayode Akintola , country representative of Sierra Leone and Liberia, to give an update of CAFOD’s response to the Coronavirus crisis in those countries. He started by stating the situation of the countries.
Sierra Leone with 7 million people and Liberia with 4 million are small counties and are the bottom 8 of the world in terms of income, with serious multi-dimensional poverty and with over 60% living on less than US$1.90$/day! Their health services are seriously inadequate with a high maternal mortality and over 31% of children under 5 being malnourished. With COVID19 adding to this, people are facing really very difficult times.
Currently, Sierra Leone is reporting 2,153 cases but only < 30,000 tests have been carried out in 6 months. Liberia has reported 1,133 cases with only <20,000 tests being carried out in the same time period! Indicating a gross underestimate of the number of cases. On average, this is 3 in 1000 being tested as compared to the UK which is over 100 times more!
COVID-19 awareness -raising workshop with faith leaders in Sierra Leone
Kayode explained how lessons were learnt from Ebola especially the important role of Faith leaders in delivering the message to local communities. Faith leaders are seen as trusted messengers of hope and truth and hence people are more likely to believe them. He said, “so it is not only about the message but also the messenger.”
Inter-Religious Council raising awareness through a megaphone campaign in the local market.
Kayode thanked all for their support through prayer, support and fundraising – he gave lots of examples including:
- Handmaid sisters at maternity clinic;
- Providing clinic staff with PPE but also enabling them to continue providing basic health support. They work in very remote communities.
- PPE – aprons, masks, wellies and eye protection;
- Helping with livelihood – food;
- Helping with suppling water and sanitising equipment for the many communities who don’t have water,
- Visit vulnerable and quarantined communities by priests to provide important psychosocial support;
Caritas Gbarnga staff deliveringcleaning materials to vulnerable households.
Staff & patients at – Handmaid Sisters Maternity Clinic
He concluded by appealing for 3 things
- Prayers – especially for the safety and strength of their partners as they have to reach the most vulnerable.
- CAFOD advocacy for debt cancellation. Debt hinders Sierra leone and Liberia who are left with only a fraction of revenue for services. Sierra Leone has a debt of US$1.6 billion. The government has set aside US$50m to service the debt leaving a budget of US$68m dollars. If the debt was cancelled the government could use all its resources to help the people.
- Continuing to support Sierra Leone and Liberia with giving. Partners rely on this to continue to reach even more remote communities, helping with livelihood and more services.
>> Add your voice to CAFOD’s Cancel the Debt campaign by clicking here
Deborah explained how this family fast day which will be on 9 October will be like no other and encouraged all to :
- Hold the Fast Day collection at physical Masses on 10/11 October and at Masses during the week.
- Make a short announcement at the end of Mass.
- Put a notice in the (e)Newsletter advising that donations can be made online or via text.
- Put up the poster in the porch or on an outdoor noticeboard.
- Use a contactless device that CAFOD will provide.
- Put envelopes out and a box for parishioners to place them in later.
- Post on parish social media or websites – Fast Day information.
This is a Harvest like no other as many families face chronic food shortages, malnutrition and poverty as the result of coronavirus. With our support, we can help people all over the world rebuild their lives.
>> Click here to see the events for “a harvest like no other”
It was good that people felt energised and enthused to support this Fast day after the session. Debbie ended by thanking all, “we can’t do our wonderful work without the help of our wonderful volunteers and supporters. You are an inspiration! Thank you so much!”
>> To contribute to this family fast day in support of the Coronavirus appeal,