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EMpower Update on COVID’s Impact: A Message from Cynthia Steele

Posted 20 March 2020 in EMpower News   |   Share


Dear Friends, Colleagues and Partners,

As our realities change daily and while much uncertainty lies ahead regarding COVID-19, these facts are crystal-clear:
  • Marginalized young people are, and will be, profoundly affected in all 15 countries where EMpower works.
  • Girls and women will be disproportionately impacted – with more care and chore burdens, greater exposure to violence, fewer resources, and less access to services.
  • Our grantee partners are vital resources and responders.
  • Our mission to support the resilience, leadership and health and well-being of youth is more needed than ever.
  • We and our strong community will meet this moment proactively, with determination and purpose.
Why marginalized young people are highly vulnerable NOW:

  • Schools and community centers – hubs for programming and safe spaces - are shuttered.
  • Most youth live in high-density settings thus increasing contagion risk.
  • Their livelihoods will be especially hard hit. We are already hearing of food insecurity.
  • Many have pre-existing health issues that make them more vulnerable to the effects/severity of the virus.
  • Water scarcity and costs limit handwashing/hygiene.
  • Discrimination or xenophobia often increase.
Here is what EMpower is doing:

We are in close touch with our ~100 grantee partners to listen to their needs and strategies to address the crisis. We are offering flexibility on the use of all grant funds and on time horizons. We realize that many plans have been derailed and other priorities have emerged. We seek to provide what is most useful for each partner, offering moral and strategic support as well as funding. We take partnership very seriously.

We are looking out for the health, safety and well-being of our staff. Now all working remotely in five countries, and all online, connection is more important than ever. We are living core EMpower principles each day: empathy, dedication, trust, generosity of spirit, and humor.

Always a priority, we are redoubling efforts to raise and steward resources to channel the most possible to our partners. We are incredibly grateful to our community of supporters who show up time and again with generosity and humanity. We and our partners rely on this critical support.

As part of a strong community of peer funders and allies, we are sharing resources and strategies. We will make a bigger difference together. Via social media and this website, we will share stories of courage, determination, and ingenuity – we are hearing incredible responses from our partners to this crisis. With agility, smarts, determination and compassion, we will weather this storm together.

Stay healthy and strong,

Cynthia Steele,

EMpower President and CEO

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