CHIPS Coronavirus update
Last updated 24 March 2020
We are praying for all those affected by the epidemic around the world and in the communities we serve, asking for God’s wisdom for those in positions of authority and decision-making, and continually reviewing how we – as a charity of Christian peacemakers – can best respond.
Our CHIPS services
All the decisions we’re making right now are led by concern for the people we work with and compassion for people in vulnerable groups in the wider communities we serve.
In Brixton, we have temporarily suspended all face-to face activity including community organising, mentoring and schools activity, in line with government advice and the closure of schools. Our office is currently closed to the public.
However, we’re working hard to provide regular and structured support in other ways. Maintaining and building healthy community relationships will be critical in the months ahead. All our activities are relational and community-led, so we’re involving local young people, families and partners in our decisions on how we can continue to offer support with the help of phone, video and other technologies.
We’re in the process of rolling out a new weekly schedule of youth engagement sessions using technology. Our youth workers and volunteers have been busy brainstorming lots of creative ideas for potential activities – such as art, dance, music and photography sessions. Our intention is to organise things in a way that helps give young people some structure to their day and allows them to involve their wider circle of family and friends.
We’re also setting up a system of phone support. This includes calling each family we’re currently connected to through our work to check in on how they are doing, as well as offering a helpline for those needing more in-depth support. We know of parents who have lost jobs already, for example, while many others will face a whole range of new challenges in the weeks ahead.
More broadly, we’re working closely with other local community organisations and the council. We are considering how we can best bring together our collective expertise to support those who need it most, for example by setting up a network of community support hubs. CHIPS is committed to playing its part and we’ve been encouraged to see so much enthusiasm, communication and action, with a real sense of people pulling together and many others engaging for the first time.
In Ghana, the coronavirus situation is currently less advanced. However, the country has closed its borders, there are some cases of infection and the situation is continually developing.
Our six practical peacemaking projects continue to run more or less as normal right now. But we’re realistic that more severe disruption is likely to occur. We believe that, in the months ahead, our animal-rearing, crops, beekeeping and savings and loan groups will appreciate even more the additional income streams that these activities can bring to their households. We’re therefore developing plans to allow us to run as much of this work as possible remotely, should people no longer able to gather together in person.
We’re also working to share hygiene messaging and practices from our projects as widely as possible, such as handwashing in schools. Our strategy is to help the community take action now, while the level of infection remains relatively low, in order to contain its spread.
We will continue to review how we can best position ourselves to help as the situation develops in Ghana more broadly, in a humanitarian as well as a peacemaking context.
What could the Coronavirus mean for peace? Read our latest thought peace
We will update this page as the situation develops. Please check back for updates.