Idris and Sabrina Dhowre Elba, who are recovering from mild cases of COVID-19, today helped launch a new global coronavirus relief fund on behalf of the United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) designed to lessen economic shocks caused by the pandemic.
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.
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Luther star Elba told the AP last week that despite experiencing mild symptoms he and his wife had their world “turned around” after contracting the disease, calling the experience “definitely scary and unsettling and nervous.”
The Elbas, designated today as UN Goodwill Ambassadors for IFAD, visited IFAD-supported projects in rural Sierra Leone in December.
Actor Elba said, “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. 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.”
Speaking about their trip, model Sabrina Dhowre Elba added, “This crisis has shown us we are only as safe as our most vulnerable people. 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.”
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