Throughout 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic has threatened families’ health and incomes around the world, our partners’ work has been more important than ever.
“We’re so impressed with how our partners have responded during this exceptionally challenging time—both those who have been on the frontline of the crisis and those who have had to adapt long-term programmes to the new reality,” says Per Heggenes, IKEA Foundation CEO.
“We thank them all for their exceptional efforts and strong commitment to doing their very best for the many people who are in the most need of our support.”
In April 2020, the IKEA Foundation launched its COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund to support partners working with communities that were especially vulnerable to the virus. Over the last nine months, we’ve made donations to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Start Network and Purpose Climate Lab from this fund.
Healthcare in vulnerable communities
Our partner MSF has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic in more than 70 countries by providing care for patients with COVID-19 and keeping essential medical services running.
For example, in Brazil, MSF teams have been providing medical care for vulnerable groups of people since the start of the pandemic. These include homeless people in Sao Paulo and indigenous communities in Mato Grosso do Sul, a state in central Brazil.
MSF has been providing consultations at local health posts and doing home visits to monitor people who have tested positive for coronavirus and to detect new cases. It has also spreading life-saving health education messages.
Essential food and hygiene
Our partner Start Network works by supporting local organisations in countries affected by emergencies. Many of its members have extensive expertise of working in remote communities to stop the spread of infectious diseases, such as cholera and Ebola.
Its members have responded to COVID-19 in 25 countries, supporting around 9 million people with water, sanitation and hygiene, health services and cash assistance.
These include Venezuelan migrants living in poor conditions in border regions in Colombia and vulnerable older people who were unable to leave their homes in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
During a pandemic, misinformation can spread like wildfire, increasing the risk to people’s health, creating anxiety and compounding social divisions.
Through our COVID-19 Fund, we have supported our partner Purpose Climate Lab with its Verified initiative, which has reached 1 billion people worldwide with accurate health information—checked by independent fact-checkers. At the same time, Purpose has been raising awareness of the spread of misinformation and fake news through its Pause campaign.
Many of our other partners have adapted their programmes to respond to the challenges of COVID-19 and help communities increase their resilience.
For example, SELCO Foundation is helping rural communities in India to survive disruptions to their supply chains through access to renewable energy. One of its projects supports a solar-powered mill, which kept running when larger mills had to shut because of transport restrictions and a lack of diesel. This helped secure farmers’ livelihoods and ensure families still had food to eat.
Also in India, our partner Generation set up an online training course in COVID-19 infection prevention and control, to help medical workers keep themselves and their patients safe. By October, the course had trained more than 50,000 nurses.