World Vision: one year of COVID-19 wiping out 20 years of progress on poverty, hunger, disease and gender equality

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Joanne Legin
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Highlights:

  • 19 million people, including 10 million children, threatened by famine in the world’s most fragile countries
  • 85 million children at risk of violence, including 4 million additional child marriages in the next few years
A young girl in Ecuador is given protective equipment as part of World Vision’s 70-country COVID-19 response. Photo credit: Salome Torres, World Vision
 
(March 11, 2021)
Today, as Canada marks a national day of observance on the one-year anniversary of the WHO pandemic declaration, international aid agency World Vision warns that COVID-19 is reversing 20 years of progress in global efforts against poverty, hunger, disease and gender equality. World Vision is also announcing its commitment to re-double efforts to ensure the health, safety and education of girls and boys living in the world’s most dangerous places, including expanded support of an equitable vaccine roll-out.

“COVID-19 continues to have a deep impact on Canadians and our safety remains critical. We are grateful for the relentless efforts of frontline workers worldwide who are often hidden heroes,” says Michael Messenger, President and CEO of World Vision Canada. “Yet, the aftershocks of this disease continue to threaten the lives of millions of children globally. In just one year, we’ve seen decades of development progress get wiped out. From increased violence, to compromised health, to lost education and rising poverty and hunger, we’re deeply concerned that this pandemic could permanently scar the lives of an entire generation of the world’s most vulnerable children, particularly girls. The need for Canada to prioritize an effective global response has never been greater: every child in every community deserves the hope of a brighter tomorrow.”

World Vision’s COVID-19 Aftershocks research warns about ongoing, potentially devastating impacts: 
  • 30 million additional children at risk of disease and death from secondary impacts
  • 85 million children at risk of violence, particularly girls, including 13 million additional child marriages (4 million within the next few years)
  • 19 million people, including 10 million children, threatened by famine due to conflict, economic impacts and climate-related natural disasters.
  • 8 million children forced into child labour in Asia alone as a result of lost livelihoods, poverty 
  • One million additional girls across sub-Saharan Africa may never return to school 
 
World Vision launched the largest emergency response in its 70-year history at the onset of the pandemic declaration. World Vision’s ongoing COVID-19 response spans more than 70 countries, engaging 400,000 faith leaders and 150,000 frontline community health volunteers, to reach nearly 60 million people. 

Canada has provided critical global leadership to respond to COVID-19 in some of the world’s most fragile places. World Vision calls on the Government of Canada to strengthen Canada’s global COVID-19 response and long-term international assistance efforts by increasing support for children and ensuring Canada’s response is informed by children and youth.