What is ActionAid’s response to the coronavirus outbreak around the world?

As cases of coronavirus continue to increase globally, ActionAid stands in solidarity with all those affected by the crisis. Like all emergencies and humanitarian crises, the Covid-19 pandemic will hit women, the poor and the most marginalised the hardest.


We are taking all necessary measures to protect the health and safety of our staff and the communities we work with worldwide.

Using lessons learnt from previous disease outbreaks, including the recent Ebola crisis, our colleagues around the world are sharing essential health information with vulnerable communities and starting to put women-led response plans into action.

ActionAid is calling on governments to ensure that social protections target women, whose care duties will double as they are at the forefront of caring for the sick, home-schooling, working informal jobs and collecting water.

Two-thirds of health sector jobs globally are held by women, who are on the frontline of the crisis working as nurses and carers.

In developing countries, more than two thirds women work in the informal economy, without sick leave and unemployment benefits. If they don’t work, they and their families don’t eat.

Girls are often responsible for walking increasingly long distances to collect any water available. Worldwide, 780 million people don’t have access to clean water. Unless their basic needs are met, they won’t be able to protect themselves or their communities from coronavirus.

ActionAid Australia has launched a coronavirus fundraising appeal to help support those in the most vulnerable communities to stop the spread of the virus and save lives.

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How is the coronavirus affecting women and girls?

Women and girls in the global south are some of the most marginalised and vulnerable people in the world.

  • Many communities rely on water sources external to their homes in the global south. With the demand for water and hygiene increasing during the crisis, many women and girls will find themselves seeking water from far-flung places which can put them at an increased risk of sexual violence.
  • With demands to self-isolate and reduce social contact to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, women and girls also face heightened risk of domestic violence while spending more time at home.
  • Many women in the global south are also risking exposure by being at the forefront of healthcare systems and while shouldering domestic and feeding responsibilities.
  • Furthermore, women who make up the vast majority of garment factory employees are now facing a loss of income and job security as less demand for new clothes and garments around the world mean factories are closing.

Will you support women on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis?

We are currently responding to the coronavirus crisis in Africa, South East Asia and Latin America. Please donate now to help us reach people in urgent need.