In response to a recent appeal from the UN to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has allocated SEK 100 million (US$11 million) from its humanitarian reserve toward efforts against COVID-19 in low-income countries. The funds will be made available mainly to organizations within the UN system that have adequate logistical capacity and are able to rapidly scale up their operations.
"We now see it as extremely important that early efforts should also be made to prevent the spread of the virus. That's why we earmark around SEK100 million that can be used to strengthen health care facilities with equipment and medicine, but also to strengthen their capacity to isolate infected people," says Susanne Mikhail Eldhagen, Head of Humanitarian Aid at Sida.
Through Sida’s Rapid Response Mechanism, approval of funds for humanitarian organizations can be granted within 24 hours. To date, COVID-19 projects have already been approved for Red Cross operations in South Africa, Pakistan, and Iran. In addition, Sida has reallocated funds toward COVID-19 projects in three of its partner countries: Afghanistan, Palestine, and Sudan.
Sida’s humanitarian reserve has a total allocation of SEK500 million (US$53 million) in 2020.