We invite corporate partners, organizations, philanthropists, co-operative organizations and societies, individual cooperators, funders and spirited individuals around the world who may wish to Adopt-A-Women Cooperative to indicate by sending a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.shecoops.org
The Rapid Respond Funding Program set-up by She-Coops is to complement and support efforts of Women Co-operatives impacted by the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic around the world. The program is the largest and fastest Adoption Program in the world that matches Adopters with Women Co-operatives deliberately providing adopter’s opportunity to reach the Women Cooperatives directly with immediate tangible benefits of providing micro-grants support to vulnerable Women Co-operatives who have lost out with funds and resources to continue in the short term and build back better.
On 26th April, 2020 there were 2,660 million goggle hits for COVID-19 and Women and 196 million hits for COVID-19 and Gender and Employment. As a movement, we were alert to the gendered impact of the Pandemic as it affects Women the most all over the world. Over the last few weeks, we’ve taken stock of the many unforeseen impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic on Women Co-operatives to understand its impacts on the Women and businesses as they bear the brunt of the economic disruption caused by the pandemic.
As the world’s biggest voice championing Women Co-operatives Model Development, we have a collective responsibility to advocate on their behalf and take the needs of Women into account that have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic thereby ensuring that vulnerable Women Co-operatives impacted by this crisis are supported through it with the resources to recover on their terms so their businesses, livelihoods and families can survive and thrive beyond the crisis.
With this milestone, we have stayed true to our commitment of standing in solidarity with Women Co-operatives around the world during this crisis, by announcing a Global Rapid Response Funding Program and setting the stage for Women Co-operatives to Build Back Better. At this moment of unprecedented need, there is an overwhelming sense of urgency to implement additional economic mitigation measures to protect lives and livelihoods of those who are facing real challenges.
Women are going through the unimaginable, many services that were previously available to them are now not sufficiently at their disposal as no one knows how vulnerable are they to the immediate risks of the epidemic, what innovative ways are Co-operatives and members using to respond to the impacts of the pandemic, what burdens are they holding, and what ideas do they have to stage a come-back – this would be our priority in the next few months.
COVID-19 is not gender-blind, and our response shouldn’t be either, as its evident that Women and girls bear the brunt of care burden and like any other disaster, we know that after the pandemic, the poorest will be even poorer and that we will have to work much harder than before to improve Women’s lives in this age of outstanding inequality.
According to the UN Food Relief Agency – World Food Programme, Executive Director, “The world is facing widespread famine with a short time to act before hundreds of millions starve to death as over 265 million people are literally marching to the brink of starvation by the COVID-19 crisis”. More than 40 Countries in the developing world could experience widespread famine and already, the historic locust swarms are threatening the food security and livelihoods of tens of millions across Africa, South Asia and the Middle East and could encompass 20% of the Earth’s land mass, thus creating a crisis within a crisis.
Even with policy support, people are losing their livelihood and lives as the pandemic’s true impact is still unknown, yet if current trends hold, its effect will be felt for generations as no one alive today has ever faced a global health crisis. This is a moment of deep reflection for some and deep grief for many as we are really on uncharted territory and crisis unprecedented since World War ll.
As the COVID-19 Pandemic continues to exact its toll on economies globally, the World Bank in its June 2020 Global Economic Prospects says, the swift and massive shock of the coronavirus pandemic and shutdown measures to contain it, have plunged the global economy into a severe contraction. The World Bank forecasts the global economy will shrink by 5.2% this year and that would represent the deepest recession since the Second World War, with the largest fraction of economies experiencing declines in per capita output since 1870. The Bank for the first time in its history has reached over 100 Countries with emergency response funding.
Those Countries impacted by fragility, conflict and violence are expected to experience the deepest recession in more than five decades with huge impacts on the most vulnerable populations (Women and Girls) and exacerbate gender inequalities. Giving Women the power to take control of their livelihoods gives them dignity, independence and personal accountability.
The impacts of COVID-19 are profoundly gendered as Women and girls suffer in particular tragic and life-changing ways. We know that discrimination and violence against Women, especially Women who maintain subservient less visible roles and vulnerable groups have increased and the way in which violence against Women is understood has significant implications for responses to it. Co-operatives provide Women with a more dignified way out of poverty often away from violence and abuse as its enterprising attempt to lift Women out of poverty is phenomenal.
We shall continue to advocate that Women would be able to cope through the pandemic through Women’s solidarity and maintaining social connections matter to their health and well-being as it provides a network of mutual support to overcome restrictions to pursue commercial or economic activities. It also provides opportunity for Women’s voice to be heard from an under-represented silence to an amplified level. Through Co-operatives Women can lead the way out of poverty, for themselves their children (families) and community.
We are not unmindful of the fiscal stimulus packages and emergency measures put in place in many Countries to mitigate the economic impacts of COVID-19, as any proposed solution, which does not take into consideration the various layers that constitute humanity, is exclusive. Studies show Women ought to be the backbone of recovery in communities and it is crucial that all international and national responses place Women and girls – their inclusion, representation, rights, social and economic outcomes, equality and protection at the centre of their efforts. “Gender-neutral” solutions do not serve Women and every policy response that recognizes this will be more impactful.
Being a feminist movement, we’re playing an important role in rapid collection of household and individual level information (collecting meaningful data) during this COVID-19 Pandemic to understand its gendered impact on Women Co-operatives. We’re in a moment where no matter what resources we have – be it in dollars, in time volunteering, in both small and grand acts of kindness, we all have a role to play in supporting Women who are most vulnerable as a result of the pandemic in this pivotal point in history.
As a Co-operative, participation in the Adopt-A-Women Co-operative Program is based upon assessment of the impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on your Co-operative. Download the COVID-19 Co-operative Assessment Form HERE.