Soon after recovering from their own bouts with COVID-19, Idris and Sabrina Elba are diving right in to use their platform and resources to assist others on a global scale.
On Monday, the married couple joined the United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to launch a new global coronavirus relief fund implemented “to support farmers and rural communities to continue growing and selling food.” The pair were also named UN Goodwill Ambassadors for IFAD.
“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,” Idris said in a statement via Deadline. “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.”
With $40M in seed money from IFAD, the multi-donor COVID-19 fund aims to raise an additional $200M from governments, foundations and the private sector to ease the impact of COVID-19 on rural small-scale farmers and producers.
The fund seeks to help them continue to grow their crops, keep their businesses open and maintain access to financial services and markets as their countries deal with lockdowns and movements are restricted.
“We need to act now to stop this health crisis transforming into a food crisis,” Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of IFAD said in a statement. “The fallout from COVID-19 may push rural families even deeper into poverty, hunger and desperation, which is a real threat to global prosperity and stability. With immediate action, we can provide rural people with the tools to adapt and ensure a quicker recovery, averting an even bigger humanitarian crisis.”
“This crisis has shown us we are only as safe as our most vulnerable people,” Sabrina added. “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.”
For more information on the newly launched fund and IFAD’s mission, head to IFAD.org.