Above & Beyond Solidarity Fund: Supporting grassroots action against COVID-19

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March 24, 2020

We are all affected by COVID-19. We share the experiences of anxiety and uncertainty; lockdowns and social distancing. And amidst this gloom, we have also witnessed new ways of living and being together, of connection and generosity. Our grassroots partners have taught that us that we can turn our collective pain into collective solutions.

We know that the pandemic will exacerbate existing inequities and further marginalize those who are already vulnerable, particularly communities in the Global South. While many of us may be fortunate enough to recover from the illness and its economic impacts, a great number may not, without global solidarity. 

We have heard from our grassroots partners around the world and they need our support today before the crisis worsens in their countries. Our first action is to launch an emergency fund to respond to the immediate needs that our grassroots partners have shared with us. Some of these needs include:

  • Information– communities lack access to quality information on how to better protect themselves. Mass media does not reach remote communities and when information is available, it is not translated into Indigenous languages.
  • Health– Already under-resourced rural communities cannot afford the healthcare services COVID-19 requires. The limited healthcare infrastructures lack adequate people and resources necessary to combat the pandemic.
  • Work– For many, social distancing comes at the cost of livelihoods. Farmers are not able to sell their produce at markets. Many community leaders and organizers have lost jobs and income sources. Grassroots groups and movements have had to postpone or cancel community organizing activities deeply undermining their abilities to advance collective action.  
  • Infrastructure–  social distancing is difficult in informal settlements and other under-resourced communities where people live closely together with limited access to power, roads, clean water, and sanitation. 
  • Safety– There are implications to social distancing and limited mobility when home is not safe. Our women-led partner organizations report increasing levels of gender based violence in their communities. There is increasing militarization and surveillance, which can signal distress for social movements and limit the ways in which they organize. 

Our grassroots partners are the first responders in their communities. They are going above and beyond their means and limitations to conduct health information campaigns, activate mutual-aid initiatives, and develop plans for a community response. 

We at Thousand Currents are committed to going above and beyond with them. In addition to our regular grantmaking, we are sending unrestricted grants to our grassroots partners to meet their urgent needs. 

These times are challenging for all of us. Yet, it takes all of us to meet the scale of this crisis. Let us express our solidarity with communities around the world as they face a global pandemic with courage, love, and resolve.