As conditions around the world change rapidly during these unprecedented times, we wanted to share a brief update to keep you informed of how we are responding to COVID-19.
COVID-19 has now grown from an outbreak in one city to a pandemic of global proportions. It is unlikely any country will be untouched by its ripple effects. More than ever, it is clear how Canada’s future is intertwined with the rest of the world.
The health and safety of our supporters, volunteers, and staff are paramount to us. In Canada, we are following all recommendations of the Government of Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, as well as the local public health authorities in the Canadian cities where we operate.
That means, effective last week:
- All our Canadian colleagues are working from home.
- We have come to the difficult decision to suspend this year’s World Partnership Walk and World Partnership Golf campaigns. We will have more information on alternate plans to share on these soon.
- We have cancelled all tours of the Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat building in Ottawa until further notice.
- Our travelling exhibit, In a Heartbeat, is suspended until further notice.
- We have postponed our International Youth Fellowship pre-departure training in Ottawa to begin at the end of July, with overseas placements beginning at the end of August. We will continue to monitor the situation in the coming weeks and months, and will adjust the program as required to ensure our fellows’ well-being.
Update July 6, 2020: In light of the current developments worldwide, we will not be moving forward with any International Youth Fellowship placements in 2020. The difficult decision to postpone the program has been reached after much deliberation and in consultation with both Global Affairs Canada as well as other Canadian volunteer-sending agencies.
- All other in-person events have either been cancelled, rescheduled online, or postponed.
We have taken these steps to do our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. We are immensely fortunate in Canada to have such competent health leadership, and we encourage everyone to heed the advice of health authorities as best they can.
Healthcare facilities and workers around the world are at the frontlines of events like these. Canadian support over the past 40 years has strengthened health systems across Africa and Asia, and we remain hopeful these investments will mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in the geographies where we work.
We also want to assure you that we remain committed to our countries and communities of operation during this crisis. The Aga Khan Development Network, of which we are a part, is mounting a robust response to address the many aspects of this pandemic. Now more than ever, it is important that our work of strengthening systems, institutions, and communities for times of fragility pushes forward.
We may all be working remotely for now, but we are still here for you. If you are already connected to a staff member, you can reach them by email. Otherwise, you send an email to [email protected], and we will direct your inquiry to the right person. If you have questions about your 2019 tax receipts, you can reach our Donor Services team directly at [email protected] or leave a voicemail at 613-237-2532 ext. 191.
In global crises like these, it is easy to dwell on what worries us. But I invite us all to step forward in support of our friends, relatives, and neighbours for whom this time may be especially trying. We can weather this better together.
We will reach out again as the situation and our plans to respond develop. Until then, we wish you and yours continued good health and spirits.
Khalil Z. Shariff
Chief Executive Officer
Aga Khan Foundation Canada
Updated: July 6, 2020