Since March 2020, the landmine clearance charity The HALO Trust has been drawing on its extensive global workforce, ambulance fleet and global mapping capabilities to bring vital support to vulnerable communities during the global Covid19 pandemic.

During that time, the charity has supported the Covid 19 response in 13 countries, including Myanmar, Somaliland and Zimbabwe. It has:

Delivered vital sanitation supplies to nearly 90,000 people Reached ¾ million people with its public health messaging.

James Cowan, CEO of the HALO Trust said:

COVID-19 has changed the world, and more changes are yet to come. The HALO Trust is using ambulances, strategic planning skills and community networks to support health authorities, the UN and NGOs on the COVID-19 front line. But without urgent action, COVID-19’s impact will extend far beyond the current public health emergency. Recession, increased poverty and heightened inequality will hit the world’s poorest and conflict-affected communities hardest. Preventing long-term suffering requires innovation, bold policy and international leadership that is still shamefully absent. The war on COVID-19 will only be won when it is won everywhere.

Drawing on its Covid response, the charity has released a new report that highlights eight recommendations for governments and donors. They are:

1 Governments must resist pressure to de-prioritise or reallocate aid budgets. They should instead promote the need for an interconnected global response to the immediate and broader impacts of COVID-19.

2 Donor COVID-19 aid policy should include measures to mitigate its secondary impacts, including measures to address rising poverty, inequality and gender-based violence.

3 States should forge regional and global coalitions to promote cooperation in national response, drive innovation and provide technical and financial assistance.

4 Donors should increase aid levels that address the causes and consequences of violence and conflict, including funding for weapons control and demining.

5 All states should draw on their diplomatic and local networks, drawing on local expertise, capacity and coping strategies.

6 International COVID-19 aid policies must match support to vaccine development by drawing on existing national and international NGO capacity to mitigate the public health emergency on the front line.

7 Aid should be flexible and include rapid approval mechanisms. Infection rates will peak in different places at different times, requiring agile reprioritisation of resources, funding and capacity.

8 Donors should balance the benefit of supporting multilateral institutions with the added value of agility and local capacity of NGOs.