Faith-based Organizations and COVID-19
FBO COVID Response Survey Results
Faith-based organizations have critical links to religious leaders and faith communities who can play a central role in helping spread public health messages, and help people cope with the COVID-19 pandemic through trauma healing and spiritual support. Engagement with religious leaders and faith communities was game changing in previous epidemic responses, including the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. To identify how faith-based organizations are using their unique skills, assets and partnership to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and uncover unmet needs they face in their response, CCIH and the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities (JLI) circulated a survey through their networks in April 2020. The survey results reveal the majority of participants are responding, coordinating, and modifying programs to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, although they face a number of challenges in doing so. Survey Report
CCIH Discussion Group
CCIH-COVID19 email discussion group for sharing news and resources about the COVID-19 virus, with special emphasis on the response from the faith community. Visit the Group Page and select Join the Group to subscribe.
Care for Congregations and Reducing Stigma: Guidance from World Vision International
Faith leaders have a central role in guiding their members towards healthy behavior change and providing spiritual, pastoral and practical support to those in need. There are seven important actions that faith leaders and faith communities of all traditions can take to protect life, reduce the spread of the virus and keep the community strong. Each of these seven actions is described in more detail in World Vision International’s Guidance for Faith Communities
See resources on how faith communities can mitigate fear and stigma including helpful do’s and dont’s for communities.
Communication and Community Engagement
The COVID-19 Communication and Community Engagement Hub has blogs, programs, strategies and more related to communicating to and engaging communities in COVID-19 education, prevention and preparedness.
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health curates COVID-19 Communication and Behavior Change Resources in the COVID Communication Network.
Denominations and Churches
The Anglican Alliance released a set of resources for churches that includes Spiritual and Theological Resources, such as prayers and Bible studies; guidance such as how to support community preparedness; helping marginalized groups; supporting people living in lock down; supporting children, and more.
World Health organization Guidance on Practical considerations and recommendations for religious leaders and faith-based communities in the context of COVID-19.
The Online Faith Collective started in response to the requirements of social distancing during the COVID-19 response that keeps people from attending worship services. The site also has Resources for online worship and a way to add your suggested resources.
Resources for Churches from CCIH member the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College. The page includes: Preparedness Manual and Planning Template: “Preparing Your Church for Coronavirus (COVID-19): A Step-by-Step, Research-Informed and Faith-Based Planning Manual” and “Coronavirus Church Planning Template.” One of the unique features about this manual and template is that pastors and church leaders can download, complete, and save their plan digitally.
The Canadian Bible Society developed a special digital edition of Words of Comfort to provide encouragement during the COVID-19 pandemic. Download the guide
The World Evangelical Alliance released Caring for a Family Member with COVID-19: A Guide for Church Education and Support, a guide for churches to help families who are caring for a family member with COVID-19 at home. The World Health Organization recommends anyone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 receive treatment in a health facility. When this is not possible, these patients will be cared for either at home with their families or home alone. This guide is designed to help people who find themselves in such a situation. It is not a replacement for care from a trained health professional and does not suggest or imply that professional care is not necessary.
Health Institution Guidance
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: General Community, Faith-based Organizations including Churches, Healthcare Professionals
Africa CDC Guidance on Community Social Distancing for COVID-19 to help communities understand the recommended practices to limit transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
World Health Organization: Latest Updates
Reducing Anxiety and Stress: This guide offers simple, practical coping methods to help strengthen mental health and resilience and reduce stress. Please be advised that this guide is not intended to replace any treatment or other professional help you may be receiving or feel you may need. Created by IsraAID, Dr. Debra Kalmanowitz, and AllenComm, in partnership with Merage Institute and Foundation House.
Nutrition and COVID-19
Samaritan’s Purse (SP) put together a brief on Nutrition and COVID-19, including Guidance for Care Groups/Support Groups Adaptations. It includes an infographic and decision tree on breastfeeding and COVID, how to adjust acute malnutrition programs during the pandemic and links to many more resources.
Podcast Series on Faith and COVID-19
The Women Arise podcast series is hosting interviews with a variety of faith leaders to educate communities and dispel myths and misperceptions about COVID-19, including Christian, Islamic and Jewish leaders.
PPE: Practical Advice on PPE in Low-Resource Settings
Thanks to SIM for sharing this very practical demonstration of how to use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for health workers and how to make PPE out of commonly available items in low-resource settings. Deborah Eisenhut, MD of SIM shares her vast experience from the Ebola outbreak in Liberia and the COVID-19 pandemic, including her firsthand knowledge of what works, and what to watch out for, when using PPE and training health staff. The video is full of very helpful and practical advice.
SMS Messages for Faith Leaders in Low-Internet Areas
CCIH partnered with HarperHill Global to collect mobile numbers to help people of faith and trusted community leaders share text messages in local languages about COVID-19 with their networks. Please use and share this form: www.tinyurl.com/faithhealthSMS to collect mobile numbers for faith and community leaders in those areas. Translations are available in a number of local languages. HarperHill Global was founded by Reverend Neelley Hicks, who employed this strategy during Ebola outbreaks to reach people who had access to mobile phones, but not the internet. Read about the effort during Ebola outbreaks.
Tracking Religious Dimensions in COVID-19
The Georgetown University Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs launched an online repository to organize information in several categories, starting with recommendations on reliable sources of information about the pandemic itself. The platform focuses on (i) responses to directives to limit physical gatherings and their implications for religious communities; (ii) specific practices and adaptations of practices, messaging and advocacy, and countering negative religious voices; (iii) specific outreach to vulnerable people and communities; (iv) major advocacy efforts linked to religious actors; and (v) reflections on long term impacts and lessons. Sign up for daily emails here
The platform includes the results of a consultation of representatives from faith-based organizations, including CCIH, and secular partners. View Summary
Translations and Resources on COVID in Multiple Languages
- CCIH Member SIL LEAD has developed a number of resources.
- SIL translated “Wash your hands” into hundreds of languages. See translations here
- SIL’s Bloom Books which are written in easily understood language and can be customized in additional languages are available here
- Education Materials from Samaritan’s Purse in multiple languages here
- COVID-19 Health Literacy Project produces material on COVID-19, which are reviewed and vetted by faculty members at Harvard Medical School, and are created in collaboration with Harvard Health Publishing. Fact sheets are available in at least 30 languages here
- Hesperian Health Guides has a fact sheet on the virus in 19 languages: English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Urdu, Bangla, Filipino, Bahasa Indonesia, Farsi, Sindhi, Telugu, Hindi, Portuguese, Chishona, Swahili, Vietnamese, Haitian Creole, Arabic, and Lao, available here
- The Minnesota Department of Health in the U.S. has materials about COVID-19 in Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, Hmong, Karen, Russian, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese here
- The Washington State Department of Health and Seattle-King County Health Department have materials in on COVID-19 in Khmer, Thai, Vietnamese, and many other languages here
- The Western New York Commission on Occupational Safety and Health has a very large collection of links to COVID-19 resources in many languages here.
- The Presbyterian Mission Agency Presbyterian Disaster Agency has a resource on Preparedness For Pandemics to help congregations plan a response for worship and ministry continuation should the need arise. It is available in English, Korean, and Spanish here
World Council of Churches Resources
The World Council of Churches has a COVID-19 fact sheet and other resources here.