Arise’s COVID Relief Fund, launched in March, has now entered its third phase. Details of the first two phases of emergency support can be found here.
COVID-19 represents an unprecedented challenge in almost all aspects of life. Within the charity sector it is no different. Some are facing existential crises as funding disappears. Others are rapidly changing intervention models in light of severe travel restrictions. Almost all are facing massive increases in need from the communities and individuals they serve.
While it does present real challenges, the COVID pandemic also offers a moment for innovation. With ever growing urgent need and rapidly changing situations, the charity world - and especially the funding sector - has had the opportunity to renew its appreciation for frontline organisations, which have led the charge against COVID where it matters most. This crisis has given us all the opportunity to craft our response to the needs of local communities, by listening to those closest to them.
This is what Arise has done throughout our COVID response. We moved quickly in the first months as our network told us that providing food and basic goods at this point was the most effective form of slavery prevention. We are proud that we were able to support our frontline partners so quickly to support over 23,000 of the most at-risk individuals.
However, as much as countries cannot remain locked-down indefinitely, we cannot stay in this state of emergency constantly, and the reports from our partners tell us that now is the time to focus on medium term support. This is the aim of Phase III, to increase resilience in vulnerable communities in order to ensure that trafficking does not exponentially increase before economies fully recover.
COVID-19 created new communities of need as the informal economy shut down and remittances and livelihoods disappeared. Vulnerable communities are seeing a massive influx of migrants with no choice but to return to their homes. In India alone it is thought that over half of the 134 million internal migrants have tried to return home during the pandemic, with many of them resorting to walking thousands of miles.
The transition phase of our COVID-19 Relief Fund is focused on supporting these new communities of need, and those who have found their vulnerabilities exacerbated. By listening to the demands of the frontlines, and adapting to their growing and changing needs, Arise is ensuring that traffickers cannot prey with impunity on vulnerable communities during COVID.
By providing targeted support our transition programmes will bridge the gap between the end of lockdown and beginning of serious economic recovery. Our programmes will allow our local partners to give the most flexible support to their communities at this key moment. By combining relief work with anti-slavery prevention work our programmes are in a unique position to build community resilience in the medium and longer term.
Each programme will run for 8 months and will have a budget of around £10,000. Activities will include emergency relief provision, education programmes, skills training and income diversity work, alongside awareness raising and provision of access to social protections. By pursuing multiple lines of intervention, Arise’s partners will raise resilience to the push and pull factors of slavery in these communities.
To support Arise and our anti-slavery network, rising to the challenges presented by Covid in some of the highest risk communities in the world, donate here