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Research reports

For such a time as this

A paper evaluating the local church’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic

2023

A group of five men and women wearing masks stand on the side of the road praying in preparation for delivering food packages to needy families in Columbia.

Tearfund’s local church partner delivers food packages to 500 vulnerable families in Colombia in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: Edrei Cueto / Tearfund

Over the past 50 years we have worked with local churches and partners in under-served communities in more than 50 countries to tackle complex poverty through three approaches: 

  • community development
  • advocacy and influencing
  • humanitarian response

When the Covid-19 pandemic began in early 2020, thousands of churches around the world were ready to respond to the needs of their community. The pandemic, the lockdowns that followed and the ensuing economic disruption have left people from all over the world in a state of desperation rarely seen before. But, together with the support of the local church, communities overcame many of the challenges and disasters facing them.

It was a great privilege to conduct multiple learning reviews, research studies and evaluations to capture the lessons and impacts of the local church’s Covid-19 response. The evidence shows that tackling poverty through the three approaches listed above positioned the local church to respond quickly, holistically and effectively to the effects of the pandemic. Church responses to the pandemic were both holistic and inclusive, addressing both physical and spiritual needs, and reaching the most marginalised and vulnerable people in their communities.

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