The World’s Food Day 75th anniversary celebration on 16th October 2020 coincides with the Global COVID-19 Pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS CoV 2). The FAO message at the occasion reads: grow, Nourish and Sustain Together. Since the pandemic outbreak in Rwanda on 14th March 2020, the government of Rwanda has put in place preventive measures including the total lockdown which was partially lifted as early as May, 2020. The pandemic effects have been severe to most vulnerable households, casual workers in rural, urban and semi-urban areas.
Caritas Rwanda recognizes FAO statement: “The COVID-19 global health crisis has been a time to reflect on things we truly cherish and our most basic needs. These uncertain times have made many of us rekindle our appreciation for a thing that some take for granted and many go without: food”
Farmers on the frontline toward building resilient food system
During the period of lockdown imposed by COVID-19, Rwandan farmers continued their agriculture and livestock activities while observing preventive practices. Caritas Rwanda through different food security projects implemented in partnership with other organizations including USAID, CRS, Caritas International Belgique, Caritas Austria, Caritas Slovenia among others, continued providing farmers with technical skills including Bio Intensive Agriculture and agro ecological Techniques that are resilient and sustainable food production systems that preserve our common home (Laudato Si).
In this period of unprecedented Global Health Crisis, Caritas Rwanda confirms that it is more important than ever to recognize the need to support frontline smallholder farmers to ensure that food is available, affordable and accessible to all.
Food Access Support to COVID-19 Affected Families
A great part of Caritas Rwanda most vulnerable beneficiaries was severely affected, thus in a need of immediate assistance to cope with the situation. In close collaboration with Catholic Episcopal Conference, Diocesan Caritas, CRS and Trócaire, an amount of 160 million Rwandan Francs (169,313 USD) was raised and used to purchase food commodities and hygienic materials for most affected Rwandans all over the country. However, the situation has been worsened by floods and landslides that have left hundreds of citizens without food and shelter.
Building Back Better
Vis-à-vis disrupted economies, threatened food systems & livelihoods, Caritas Rwanda, in line with national COVID-19 recovery plan, is engaged and committed to rebuild back better smallholder farmers’ food systems resistant to shocks, in collaboration with its existing and forthcoming partners.