Cultivating Hope Amidst the Pandemic

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing hardships that have come with it for the world’s poorest communities, we have pivoted our programs to support the community leaders we work with in the best way possible. 

Cultivate is now raising support so that our trainees, who are faced with especially tough circumstances being in the developing world, will have access to basic essentials such as food, water, medicine, and housing. By helping each of them with a living stipend, it will lessen their burden to provide for themselves and their families, and allow these community leaders to focus on supporting their communities’ fight against the pandemic.

We need your support today.
While we all are experiencing hardships, now is the time we must trust our humanity and help those in need. 


Great challenges and devastation are limiting these community leaders’ access to resources for their programming as well as their own livelihoods. We asked our trainees how their communities are being impacted, and they shared with us many difficulties that have been brought on by this crisis. We have gathered here the stories of the incredible leaders we support and their efforts to improve the quality of life for others within their communities despite the tragedies that they are all facing in their home countries.


In the developing world, fears for the virus and public health are accompanied by threats of hunger, natural disaster, and devastating economic hardships. Everyone we work with has deeply felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in their own households.  They are suffering from or fearful of imminent hunger with the current inaccessibility of food and rising costs. Other essential goods, such as protective materials, sanitation supplies, drinking water, and healthcare services are becoming increasingly difficult for families to obtain due to widely instituted curfews as well as unemployment, an issue that has affected our trainees and their family members on multiple levels. The loss of employment  and ability to work informal jobs  means that bills are going unpaid and health struggles are becoming acute, both physical and mental.

To say our trainees and their families are struggling would be a drastic understatement.


Food prices have doubled or tripled. Food prices have doubled or tripled.

Their communities are battling overwhelming hunger, fear, and lack of general protection. Extreme hunger is rising as people cannot access food due to escalating prices, the forced closure of markets, the breaking of the supply chain, and the forced shut down of public transportation. Most communities are minimally receiving help from their own governments, there are no food banks, and international aid is slow to arrive. Trainee Kelvin from Zambia and others fear that forced prostitution will rise, along with crime and violence, as people face starvation. The virus is spreading as communities are unable to quarantine and communities lack credible information about its spread in their own language, or in formats that educate those who are illiterate. Trainee James from Kenya expressed great concern for the fear and misinformation that is rampant in his community. Rumors and false information are quickly spreading, causing people to fear contagion from getting tested. In informal settlements, slums, or refugee camps, social distancing is nearly impossible. Those who do not have food at home are forced to leave to beg, scavenge, or try to find it in other ways, perpetuating the spread of COVID19. Furthermore, healthcare services in many places are weak due to a lack of hospitals or health clinics, technology like ventilators and testing supplies, and ambulances and emergency vehicles cannot reach rural areas. For most households, even washing hands with clean running water and soap is a luxury they cannot afford.





Community programs are facing challenges to their sustainability as donations cease and decrease. These leaders are struggling to cover the wages of their workers. These workers, along with the rest of their community members, are going hungry, and are fearful and devastated due to the deaths happening around them. For the organizations that have been able to endure, working remotely and online are becoming too expensive or even entirely unrealistic. Many organizations are unable to effectively continue their serivces, unable to adapt to the ongoing situation for these reasons, and even those who have adapted are facing obstacles in their pathways. Many our trainees have adapted their programming to accommodate for the poor and marginalized members of their community by assembling protective masks. Even this initiative is becoming increasingly difficult, as materials are becoming more expensive and harder to access.


We asked our trainees what their most pressing needs are, and the vast majority have desperate and growing needs for the most basic essentials – food, drinking water, sanitation supplies, medicine, assistance with housing, and a means to educate their children. They also need the means to connect with those in their communities, to run their organizations remotely, and continue to receive assistance from Cultivate. Thus, we are launching the #CultivateHope campaign to provide our trainees in the developing world giving each of them a living stipend. This support will lessen their burden to provide for themselves and their families, and allow these community leaders to focus on supporting their communities.


Your support will go towards the provision of emergency relief for eleven Cultivate trainees, their families, and their dependents, so that they may obtain the basic essentials that will sustain them and connect them to the resources they need amidst the pandemic.


All donations that are received throughout this week of #GiveAtHomeMN will cultivate hope for our beloved trainees. While COVID-19 has caused much tragedy, it also presents an opportunity to act generously. By the end of this week, our goal is to have raised enough money to allow our dedicated trainees to again be empowered to persevere with their own charitable efforts.


#CultivateHope and contribute to this ripple effect of humanitarianism by donating to our emergency relief fund!


On top of the coronavirus pandemic, East Africa is experiencing some catastrophic natural disasters – flooding and a plague of locusts. Trainee Frankline from Kenya shared with us photos and videos of dramatic flooding in his region, making it increasingly difficult for community members to access essential goods and services. Additionally, locusts swarms have descended on the food that had been grown in order to sustain families in the area. 

Floods sweep away homes in Kenya. Floods sweep away homes in Kenya. Locusts swarm across East Africa. Credit: Aljazeera. Locusts swarm across East Africa. Credit: Aljazeera. Those on the margins are hit the worst. Those on the margins are hit the worst.


However, even as they face countless troubles that have caused suffering, our trainees left us with some words of encouragement. Justine from Kenya shared with us that his organization has been imploring landlords to set up water and sanitation stations on compounds, and some have already agreed and cooperated in doing so. Justine and other members of his community are also disseminating information both online and verbally to their neighbors and friends to assist in communal preventative measures and awareness. Frankline was able to provide enough hand washing stations, soap, and hygiene instructions for fifty families within the community. As trainee Alex from Zambia said,


“We all live in a global village. Despite the devastating circumstances during which we may finally reach this understanding, we now know it to be true, and it is increasingly evident and important to remember with each passing day.”



Want to help even more? 

There’s many ways you can help us reach our goal, and help others across the developing world.

  • Start a fundraiser 
  • Share our posts, or create your own.
  • Ask others to match your contribution.
  • Raise awareness with those who may be unaware of what is going on beyond state and national borders.
  • Advocate for robust funding for international humanitarian aid. 

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