Cherica washes her hands in front of her grandmother's home in Cite Soleil, a district of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: Dieu Nalio CheryCherica washes her hands in front of her grandmother's home in Cite Soleil, a district of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: Dieu Nalio CheryCherica washes her hands in front of her grandmother's home in Cite Soleil, a district of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery

Our year in pictures

Our year in pictures

With so much going on, it's hard to remember whether something happened last week or last month. That's why we wanted to go back through 2020 in pictures - our year, one photograph at a time.

From responding to a number of emergencies across the globe to raising over £1 million from the Ration Challenge to the continued support of our amazing fundraisers and campaigners - 2020 has been a whirlwind! So let's take a step back and look at exactly what we've all been up to this last year.

We responded to a number of emergencies

Locusts in east Africa

A farmer's son raises his arms as he is surrounded by desert locusts while trying to chase them away from his crops, in Katitika village, Kitui county, Kenya. Credit: Ben Curtis/AP/Shutterstock
A farmer's son raises his arms trying to chase away desert locusts from his crops, in Kitui county, Kenya. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP/Shutterstock

In February this year, we were on the brink of a major humanitarian crisis in east Africa as massive swarms of desert locusts threatened food supplies of 13 million people. Huge swarms of the insects devastated crops in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, putting the lives and livelihoods of millions at risk.

We responded by providing cash payments to families to buy fodder for livestock, food, seeds, agricultural tools and other basic items.  

Locusts in Laisamis in Marsabit County in Kenya where Concern Worldwide is assessing the damage the swarms are having on communities. Photo: Concern Worldwide
Locusts in Laisamis in Marsabit County in Kenya where Concern Worldwide is assessing the damage the swarms are having on communities. Photo: Concern Worldwide
Locusts
Locusts

Covid-19

Distribution of 2832 COVID-19 prevention Hygiene Kits at Khankay IDPs camp Dohuk Kurdistan Iraq Photo: Concern Worldwide
Distribution of 2832 COVID-19 prevention Hygiene Kits at Khankay IDPs camp Dohuk Kurdistan Iraq

When coronavirus (Covid-19) hit, none of us knew how much our lives would be affected. What we also didn't know was how badly it was going to affect the poorer parts of the world, where the effects of the virus were thought to be much more severe. Given the impact of the disease on countries with strong health systems, Covid-19 posed an even larger threat to densely populated countries that are already struggling with the impact of conflict, climate change and malnutrition.

The focus of our response was on maintaining our current lifesaving programmes, where possible, as well as playing our part in raising awareness of the tools that can be used to fight the spread of the infection.

Marriam Jamali received soap as part of of hygiene distribution to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 by Concern in Lilongwe. Her son Bruno helps pour water on her hands while she washes them.
Marriam Jamali received soap as part of of hygiene distribution to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 by Concern in Lilongwe. Her son Bruno helps pour water on her hands while she washes them.
Chrisy Kumvula and Paul Chitsuro, demonstrating to participants on the proper use of masks. Malawi Photo: Henry Mhango
Chrisy Kumvula and Paul Chitsuro, demonstrating to participants on the proper use of masks. Malawi Photo: Henry Mhango
Staff talk to residents during distribution of hygiene kits in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery
Staff talk to residents during distribution of hygiene kits in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery
Health facilities have implemented new measures to separate people, Somalia. Photo: Concern
Health facilities have implemented new measures to separate people, Somalia. Photo: Concern

Some of our response included:

  • Distributing hygiene kits
  • Installing handwashing stations
  • Promoting social distancing
  • Creating awareness campaigns
  • And continuing to provide vital aid.
Patricia Moloko with her son George pictured with the soap and Covid-19 fliers they have received from Concern Malawi.
Patricia Moloko with her son George pictured with the soap and Covid-19 fliers they have received from Concern Malawi.
Volunteer disinfecting a nutrition centre in a Refugee Camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
Volunteer disinfecting a nutrition centre in a Refugee Camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
Margaret Matiyasi has been receiving monthly cash transfers from Concern. Photo: Jason Kennedy
Margaret Matiyasi has been receiving monthly cash transfers from Concern. Photo: Jason Kennedy
Daddy Mansaray wearing a mask as a preventative measure against Covid-19, Sierra Leone. Photo: Mohamed Saidu Bah
Daddy Mansaray wearing a mask as a preventative measure against Covid-19, Sierra Leone. Photo: Mohamed Saidu Bah
Louismene pictured outside the home she shares with her children four children in Cite Soleil slum, a district of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery
Louismene pictured outside the home she shares with her children four children in Cite Soleil slum, a district of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery
General View of the centre of Kibera slum area in Nairobi, Kenya Photo: Ed Ram
General View of the centre of Kibera slum area in Nairobi, Kenya Photo: Ed Ram
A homeless woman waiting to receive food supply by standing in queue outside a supermarket shop in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo: Mohammad Rakibul Hasan / Concern Worldwide.
A homeless woman waiting to receive food supply by standing in queue outside a supermarket shop in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo: Mohammad Rakibul Hasan / Concern Worldwide.

To top it off with one of the hottest topics of the year, we worked with communities around the world to supply almost one million people with soap and hand sanitiser to help the fight against Covid-19. But we didn’t just provide soap – we also helped people make their own. In Cité Soleil, Haiti’s largest slum, we gave unemployed people like Sterline the skills to produce their own soap - which has now become a successful business.

In Port-au-Prince, communities are learning how to make soap themselves. Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery
In Port-au-Prince, communities are learning how to make soap themselves. Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery
Sterline Dieu pictured as she holds up salts while they are making liquid and solid soap in Cite Soleil slum, Haiti. Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery
Sterline Dieu pictured as she holds up salts while they are making liquid and solid soap in Cite Soleil slum, Haiti. Photo: Dieu Nalio Chery

Beirut explosion

One of the damaged buildings in Beirut
Destruction across Beirut city, following the explosion in the port area on August 4 2020. Photo: Dom Hunt /Concern Worldwide

On August 4, a devastating explosion occurred in Beirut, leaving more than 300,000 people homeless, over 5,000 injured, and at least 200 people killed. Lebanon had already been facing an economic crisis, an influx of refugees, and a new spike in Covid-19 cases. This meant that recovery from the explosion was extremely worrying.

Destruction in the city of Beirut following the port blast on 4th August 2020. Photo: Jade Van Huisseling
Destruction in the city of Beirut following the port blast on 4th August 2020. Photo: Jade Van Huisseling
One of the damaged buildings in Beirut
Destruction across Beirut city, following the explosion in the port area on August 4 2020. Photo: Dom Hunt /Concern Worldwide
Destruction across Beirut city, following the explosion in the port area on 4th August 2020. Images taken by Concern Worldwide team conducting response assessment. Photo: Dom Hunt / Concern Worldwide.
Destruction across Beirut city, following the explosion in the port area on 4th August 2020. Images taken by Concern Worldwide team conducting response assessment. Photo: Dom Hunt / Concern Worldwide.

Concern responded by providing emergency support to people who have had their lives devastated. We focused on providing shelter to the city’s poorest communities whose homes have been destroyed or badly damaged, as well as providing psycho-social support to individuals, including counselling.

However, we were not the only ones. Groups of passionate volunteers have been on the ground since day one and they are vital in the city’s recovery. Read more about their story here.

Volunteering groups are meeting each other in the warehouse to discuss and plan their response to the Beirut blast. Photo: Jade van Huisseling
Volunteering groups are meeting each other in the warehouse to discuss and plan their response to the Beirut blast. Photo: Jade van Huisseling
Volunteering groups are meeting each other in the warehouse to discuss and plan their response to the Beirut blast. Photo: Jade van Huisseling
Volunteering groups are meeting each other in the warehouse to discuss and plan their response to the Beirut blast. Photo: Jade van Huisseling
Concern's Warehouse Manager, Mohammed along with Sawsan and Miriam from a local volunteer group, do a stock take of blankets. Photo: Jade van Huisseling
Concern's Warehouse Manager, Mohammed along with Sawsan and Miriam from a local volunteer group, do a stock take of blankets. Photo: Jade van Huisseling

Moreover, our team went the extra mile to respond to the people of Beirut's trauma with compassion and humanity, and to support the incredible efforts of local volunteers who were among the first to respond. Their idea? One rose to accompany each shelter kit that she and her teammates were distributing.

It’s like a hug, which you cannot physically do because of Covid-19, but at least you can express it through the flower. They are a wonderful form of non-verbal communication that touches everyone’s heart.

Sanaa Hussein - Senior Protection Officer for Concern Lebanon
Concern staff Amani, Pauline and Sanaa buying flowers to distribute alongside the dignity and shelter kits to support the local community affected by the Beirut blast.Lebanon Photo: Pauline Coste / Concern Worldwide
Concern staff Amani, Pauline & Sanaa buy flowers to distribute alongside shelter kits to households affected by Beirut blast. Photo: Pauline Coste / Concern Worldwide

Our street fundraisers got a makeover!

Concern street fundraiser Roberta with Gabriela Grozavu who has just signed up to Through to 2.
Concern street fundraiser Roberta with Gabriela Grozavu who has just signed up to Through to 2.

From this ↑ to this ↓

A huge smile from our street fundraisers who are glad to be back!
A huge smile from our street fundraisers who are glad to be back!

This year our Street Fundraisers had a long, unforeseen break due to Covid-19 and, on their return in September, a bit of a makeover to ensure everyone's safety. You can find out more about what we're doing to ensure the heath and safety of our fundraisers and the public here.

We looked out of the window

Like all of our views out the window in lockdown, every experience of lockdown was been different – both here in the UK and across the globe. We wanted t to offer a different perspective on life in the countries we work in.

Our overseas staff and their families created images of the views from their windows in lockdown. From Syria, to Pakistan, to the Central African Republic, every view was different!

South Korea

'Elementary school, tall trees and summer wind' in Seoul, South Korea. Artist: Yun Seok Chang
'Elementary school, tall trees and summer wind' in Seoul, South Korea. Artist: Yun Seok Chang
'Green view I encounter every morning along the corridor', Anyang, Kyeonggi-do. Artist: Yeon Ju Yoo
'Green view I encounter every morning along the corridor', Anyang, Kyeonggi-do. Artist: Yeon Ju Yoo
'Colourful city view at night from my window', Anyang, Kyeonggi-do. Artist: Yeon Ju Yoo
'Colourful city view at night from my window', Anyang, Kyeonggi-do. Artist: Yeon Ju Yoo

Pakistan

Artist: Sadia, Pakistan
Artist: Sadia, Pakistan
Artist: Sadia, Pakistan
Artist: Sadia, Pakistan
Artist: Khanzada, Pakistan
Artist: Khanzada, Pakistan

Syria

Artist: Mai Abdulghani, northern Syria
Artist: Mai Abdulghani, northern Syria
Artist: Mai Abdulghani, northern Syria
Artist: Mai Abdulghani, northern Syria
Artist: Mai Abdulghani, northern Syria
Artist: Mai Abdulghani, northern Syria
Artist: Mai Abdulghani, northern Syria
Artist: Mai Abdulghani, northern Syria

Check out the rest of the pictures here!

We got innovative in Bangladesh

The coronavirus sample booth in Bangladesh.
The coronavirus sample booth in Bangladesh.

In June, our colleagues in Bangladesh built cutting-edge digital booths to help increase the country’s capacity to test and screen people for coronavirus (Covid-19). The free booths became a one-stop shop for screening and sample collection – after a video consultation with a local doctor, patients with Covid-19 symptoms were directed to a sample collection booth - and within 48 hours, they received results and relevant medical advice.

After four months of successful operation, in which over 8,000 samples were collected, the booth was handed over to Directorate General of Health Services, ensuring the sustainability of the project. This incredible innovation has the potential to be scaled up across the country – particularly in more rural areas where there is a shortage of doctors and medical facilities.

Patients wait in a socially distant waiting room to be tested
Patients wait in a socially distant waiting room to be tested
A handwashing facility is on the site for patients
A handwashing facility is on the site for patients
A patient consults with a doctor via video call
A patient consults with a doctor via video call
A patient takes a sample test for coronavirus
A patient takes a sample test for coronavirus

We campaigned

In 2020, hunger was already on the rise due to ongoing conflicts and the effects of climate change. Then, Covid-19 threatened to plunge already struggling families across the world into crisis. The pandemic has impacted on all our lives. But for the extreme poor, if they can’t earn a daily income, they don’t eat.

We called for international action to tackle hunger and malnutrition for the most vulnerable people.

Our Can't Stomach Hunger Nutrition Campaign Petition
Our Can't Stomach Hunger Nutrition Campaign Petition

On World Food Day, 27 MPs, 700 supporters and 14 organisations tweeted Dominic Raab using our social media toolkit and graphics to #InvestInNutrition. 

Over 20,000 people also signed petitions, which we then digitally 'handed in', addressing Dominic Raab. We also gained some great traction on social media with 10,100 views of our post and 71 retweets.

Thank you to everyone that supported! 

Our fundraisers got creative!

Peter, a member of staff here at Concern UK, doing his own "hair-raising" challenge.
Peter, a member of staff here at Concern UK, doing his own "hair-raising" challenge.

Peter, a member of staff here at Concern, did his own "hair-raising" challenge. Peter dyed his beard bright pink, (getting a few strange looks when he's out) and raised an incredible £365 for Concern.
 

Martin raised an amazing £2,835 from his sponsored head shave.
Martin raised an amazing £2,835 from his sponsored head shave.
Martin raised an amazing £2,835 from his sponsored head shave.
Martin raised an amazing £2,835 from his sponsored head shave.

Our incredible fundraiser Martin Pye raised an amazing £2,835 from his sponsored head shave.

Martin says he has transformed from Santa Claus to Dr Evil in a short space of time to help raise funds for the world's most vulnerable people. 

We ran the Ration Challenge (again!)

Hannah and Robbie, who took part in this year's Ration Challenge.
Hannah and Robbie, who took part in this year's Ration Challenge.

And we raised an incredible £1.8 million, including Gift Aid!

Thank you to everyone that has supported us this year! We couldn't have done it without you. If you'd like to give again, please do.

Share your concern