Responding to COVID-19

With the global pandemic, violence continues, but there are now fewer witnesses.

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We are pragmatic. We live in a real world with real challenges - and we are adapting our protection work to be successful in preventing the spread of Covid-19. 

Everything that we do is about challenging the belief that conflict, protection, and violence need to be managed with force or the threat of force—when we know that nonviolence is the way to lasting peace. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic can be no different.  

With the global pandemic, violence continues, but there are now fewer witnesses.  We want to say thank you to all of you expressing concern for our teams and the conflict affected people we work with during this time of a global pandemic. Your support now as always means so much to all of us. 

 

 

Working together is more important than ever.  

You make it possible for Nonviolent Peaceforce to be persistent, creative, and adaptable, even in places where people are living in situations where social distancing seems impossible and water stations are shared by dozens of people.  Yet, our teams continue to be present and bear witness to the struggles of people who are in conflict-affected areas during this unprecedented time.  

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In many places, travel is restricted. Can NP still work remotely?

Yes! While there are travel restrictions in the areas where we work, we are still able to keep in constant contact with communities over the phone or computer. Because we work and live in the communities we serve, we have built close relationships with civilians in the years since we started our current programs. We are able to stay in contact because of the authentic connections that we have made with so many communities living in areas affected by violent conflict. We are still able to provide support and guidance to civilians, advocate for their safety, and help connect vulnerable populations to the resources they need. 

Does NP distribute aid or resources?

What we do is work for the protection of civilians. So, while we aren't a humanitarian aid organization, we do work very closely with humanitarian aid organizations to protect civilians during resource distribution. Without including civilian protection work in aid distribution, there could actually be a heightened risk of tensions that could lead to violence. And, we can act as a liaison between the communities that need resources and the parties that are distributing the resources--this is all possible because of the strong connections we make with people on the ground. 

Has violent conflict stopped during the pandemic?

While some violence around the world has decreased and there are many places where people are coming together to cooperate, we also see that violence is heightened by limited movement, reduced access to resources, and rising fear: increased violence directed at intimate partners at home, against children, and against those defined for whatever reason as the “other.” Such violence also takes form of hoarding, illegal, and informal taxation of essential aid, racially motivated crimes, entrenching of identity politics, and violence against health workers. Because of this, protection of civilians is more important now that ever. 

Why are relationships so important to the pandemic response?

An important part of the work that we do is also extremely important to responding to COVID-19: trust. Because our staff are a mix of both people from all over the world who live in the communities they serve, as well as people who are from the communities we serve, we are able to build authentic relationships with communities. Our staff are trusted messengers, which is particularly important for sharing critical information. For example, we share WHO health and safety guidelines in local languages and to people in remote areas, dispel dangerous myths about COVID-19, connect people to resources they need, reduce the stigmatization of someone who may test positive, and reduce fears caused by or increased by the pandemic. 

Working with the world’s most vulnerable: Your impact makes it possible for our teams to work with people who are vulnerable to violence and poor health, living through clan, community-level, and national conflicts. And recently, just when the vulnerable are about to be hit with a deadly virus, many international aid organizations have either returned to their home countries or are stuck without access or ability to travel to the people in need. Communities could easily become trapped: violence continues (and increases) and the virus keeps spreading, now with fewer witnesses. Your support of our teams in the field has become even more critical, as our networks reach people in the most rural and remote places.

Supporting our communities is more important now than ever, as Covid-19 compounds vulnerability and social distancing is practically impossible in cultures where people greet one another with hugs and handshakes and extended families live together under one roof. The camps for displaced people that provide shelter to people who have fled violence create some of the most dangerous environments for the spread of Covid-19. 

Making an impact with a relationship-based approach to Covid-19: Our community-led education and prevention work will not only continue to prevent violence, but our work can also be used to face COVID-19. The work you have been supporting for years is the same method needed in a pandemic: dispelling myths and rumors, deescalating tensions and reducing fears of “the other,” and strengthening a community-led approach. Tensions will rise and conflict is inevitable. But our teams and the thousands of people we’ve trained will model how to move ahead together in peace. 

Thank you for making an impact. It is the trusting relationships that Nonviolent Peaceforce has built with local communities that is promoting these prevention efforts.

Read our initial message on COVID-19

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Our teams urgently need your support in order to respond to COVID-19 in the countries where we work.
Will you be a part of preventing further violence?

 

charity navigatorWe have been named as a top “trustworthy, vetted” COVID19 responder by Charity Navigator

 

Stories on our work click here

Nonviolence Cafes


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Our teams urgently need your support in order to respond to COVID-19 in the countries where we work.
Will you be a part of preventing further violence?

 

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority.

 

   be safe be smart if you develop be smart inform be kind to address fear be kind to address stigma be kind to support