A quick note to bring you up to date with the situation here at MLFA.
As the COVID-19 pandemic develops we are closely monitoring the situation.
There are so far only a relatively small number of cases reported in Zambia (40) and Zimbabwe (13) and Malawi (9), but the pandemic is spreading rapidly throughout the continent. Pandemics generally take longer to reach Africa as it is less interconnected with other regions but it has now arrived in most countries and local transmission will start.
As you may know, resources and facilities across Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe are limited.
You may have seen that recently the ‘Group of 20 Countries’ committed substantial funding and assistance to help the WHO and other agencies as they work closely with a number of national authorities on the continent to increase capacity for early detection, as well as taking measures to prevent transmission and contain the virus. This includes training of health workers, screening in airports, community engagement and increasing both laboratory and hospital capacity.
The sooner developed countries have passed the peak they will hopefully be in a position to send COVID-immune staff to help.
Among those most adversely affected by economic shocks are the poor women we work with. The impact of this pandemic will propel them into even deeper poverty, and have repercussions throughout society. Food production is one of the main income generators for the women we work with and their agricultural businesses ensure whole villages have access to food. The threat of hunger is as great as the threat of the corona virus – the two combined will have devastating impacts. Our support is essential to get them through this crisis.
What are MicroLoan Foundation doing to help?
- Mentoring and supporting the women to ensure their businesses survive
- Writing off and rescheduling loans to reduce pressure
- Providing top up capital to ensure they have the cash-flow to continue running their businesses
- Providing protective equipment and digital services to reduce transmission
In the current situation, we know that the women’s livelihoods will collapse if they dont get access to capital and support. We are doing everything in our power to keep our beneficiaries and staff safe.
On a positive note, the harvest season has arrived and the yields and rains have been good this growing season so the food security at this point in time is relatively good and hopefully the prices will be too. This will be most helpful for the 50% plus of our clients who are involved in food production.”
Stay fit, stay well, stay positive.