Activist and model, Sabrina Dhowre, and her husband, Idris Elba, have launched a new global coronavirus relief fund on behalf of the United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to prevent economic shocks caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
With $40 million in funding from IFAD, the multi-donor COVID-19 Rural Poor Stimulus Facility aims to raise an additional $200 million from governments, foundations and the private sector to help farmers and lessen the impact of COVID-19 on rural communities.
It is hoped that these measures will help avert a larger hunger crisis – one that would have particularly harsh effects on vulnerable people in developing countries.
The Elbas, appointed today as UN Goodwill Ambassadors for IFAD, visited IFAD-supported projects in rural Sierra Leonein December. During their visit, they heard from rural communities who had received support from IFAD during the Ebola epidemic.
At that time, IFAD-supported banks helped the rural economy rebound so that farmers could access finance and continue to feed their families and communities.
Sabrina said: “This crisis has shown us we are only as safe as our most vulnerable people. It is in all our interests to keep local food systems going, protect rural communities and mitigate a health crisis as people who lose their jobs in the city head back to rural areas.
“The IFAD-run projects we saw in Sierra Leone give us hope that, with the right assistance, vulnerable rural people worldwide will be able to get through this difficult time.”
Idris Elba said: “The world’s advanced economies are in the midst of this pandemiC right now and, of course, they must do everything they can to help their own people. Every death is one death too many at a time like this.
“But the fact is, global action is also a matter of self-interest. As long as the pandemic is still raging anywhere, it will pose a threat everywhere.
“IFAD needs more assistance to carry on the work that is desperately needed to keep food systems operating in rural areas if we are to come out of this crisis together and avoid needless hunger and suffering.”