The Community of Sant'Egidio, UN Refugee Agency UNHCR and Doctors Without Borders have launched "#coopforafrica", a fundraiser to promote vaccination and the fight against Covid in Africa. The campaign is run together with a group of Italian cooperatives of consumers.
Only 7% of the population in Africa has received one dose of the vaccine against COVID-19. People in the continent don't have the possibility to choose and the virus continues to spark fear.
These are the premises of the campaign "#coopforafrica", a fundraiser to promote immunization and the fight against Covid in Africa.
The initiative has been launched thanks to the joint effort of cooperatives of Italian consumers and three international humanitarian organizations, the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, the Community of Sant'Egidio and Doctors Without Borders (MSF).
The campaign was presented on Friday, December 3, in the Rome headquarters of UNHCR.
All three organizations are already active in Africa to promote vaccination.
The campaign is kicking off on December 9 and will last one month with the funds raised to be doubled by Coop.
It is possible to donate at the cashier's desks in the over 1,100 Coop stores or use the platform Eppela (www.eppela.com/coopforafrica) or the dedicated bank account (Iban: IT 12 E 02008 05364 000106277813). The last two options were activated on December 3.
Objective to raise one million euros to vaccinate 250,000 people
"The objective is to raise more than one million euros to vaccinate about 250,000 people," said Italia and Ancc-Coop president Marco Pedroni.
It is a way to "contribute to safeguard the world's poorest countries where the pandemic affects fragile and insufficient healthcare systems," he continued. "In addition to ethical reasons, there is the need to neutralize as much as possible a virus in a phase of mutation given that nobody can survive on their own in front of COVID-19."
Marco Impagliazzo, president of the Community of Sant'Egidio, thanked Coop during the event to launch the campaign for its "far-sighted choice of civility."
People "aren't just consumers but citizens who become active for campaigns that generate wellbeing", said Impagliazzo.
Speaking about the concrete role Sant'Egidio will have in the campaign, Impagliazzo explained: "We have run treatment centers against Aids in 10 African countries, the centers of the project DREAM, since 2002. Thanks to them, many African health systems have been substantially recreated."
"(v)accines aren't provided in a void," he emphasized. "They are given where there are healthcare systems that work and where we will also be able to implement educational and cultural campaigns. We are thinking, for example, about the impact on Africa of western controversies on the Astrazeneca vaccine."
"There are enough vaccines, there are possibilities, they just need to be brought there -- finding systems to vaccinate," he added.
MSF says role will be to implement 'last mile'
Alarm was raised at the presentation by Stella Egidi, medical chief at MSF: "An estimated 50 million doses of the vaccine will go to waste at the end of the year in Europe, in a part of the world where vaccines are wasted like food."
Talking about her organization's role in the campaign, Egidi said MSF "will implement the so-called "last mile", or the crucial passage between the medicine's arrival and its administration."
"This campaign is important for us," said Chiara Cardoletti, UNHCR representative for Italy, "because over 85% of refugees live in developing countries on which Covid had a devastating impact."
"Refugees often live in remote, desertified locations and they often don't have a voice. Through this campaign, we will focus on 21 African countries, we will do it by providing information and strategies to ensure that vaccines arrive and that the cold chain is ensured. We have to thank Coop for making sure that refugees can be included at such a difficult historic moment," Cardoletti said.