Dear friends and supporters,

It’s hard to believe how much has changed over the course of just a few weeks. The world as we know it has ended. Some things are never going to be the same. The question is: what kind of world do we want to create now for tomorrow?

We hope you and your families are safe and healthy. It is easy to be overwhelmed by fear and anxiety and we hope you are taking good care of yourselves and your loved ones.

For us at Bread and Water for Africa UK, the past weeks have been intense in adapting to these new circumstances, preparing for the sharp decrease in donations and gap in financial resources. But more importantly, we have been holding our breath for the imminent impact of the virus in Africa.

Cases of Coronavirus have been confirmed in Rwanda and Kenya over the past few weeks, and now this week in Burundi and Sierra Leone as well.

How things are going to unfold is uncertain. Already, the containment measures in Rwanda and Kenya are preventing people from going to work or to the market to sell their crops. This means families are left without ANY resources to pay for basic needs, such as food. In Sierra Leone, where the trauma of Ebola is still very present, the closing of the borders with neighbouring countries has already led to an increase of 30 to 40% on some foodstuff. In Burundi, the population is still grappling with an outbreak of cholera and dysentery due to heavy rainfalls and flooding.

Floods in a slum in Bujumbura, Burundi.

These are all very worrying facts and we fear the consequences of the Coronavirus on the communities we support. These are communities who lack the most basic needs, from proper food and nutrition, meaning that people are more likely to get ill, to proper sanitation and healthcare.

How would you keep yourself and your family safe if you didn’t have access to soap and running water? How would you implement social distancing if you lived in a slum? How would you seek treatment if there were no hospitals for miles and miles around?

It breaks my heart to think that all the progress we’ve made over the past few years, to create sustainable solutions for education, nutrition and healthcare, should be destroyed. We are in constant contact with our partners to assess the situation and plan a way forward.

Phyllis Keino with a child at Lewa Childrens Home in Eldoret, Kenya
Phyllis Keino, our spokesperson, with one of her children at the Lewa Chidlren's Home

But thankfully there is also so much to be hopeful and grateful for.

We are grateful for our amazing supporters who have stepped in during these difficult times and offered to increase their donations so that we can maintain our essential programmes. Those who have checked in and enquired about the situation in Africa, offering their best wishes and prayers. Our amazing and brave partners in the field, who have been on the frontline of many difficulties and struggles over the years but keep fighting. They never give up. Whether it’s Ebola, floods, political violence, terrorism, drought, famine. They never give up.

Kamili Team at their clinic in Lower Kabete in Nairobi, Kenya, during the coronavirus epidemicThe Kamili Team, still providing services with masks, handwash and sanitiser

That’s why WE cannot give up. We will keep doing our very best to provide them with the support they need to protect and care for the vulnerable members of their community. Because this is the world we want to find when we’ve all been through this.

Sincerely,

Sylvia

Sylvia Costantini
Chief Executive Officer
Bread and Water for Africa UK