Monteverde's Emergency Fund:
Working together in the face of global adversity.
Monteverde has felt a deep economic impact by the recent events in the world: with the arrival of COVID-19 to Costa Rica and the extended lockdown on our borders preventing tourists from traveling into the country, a large percentage of our community will have little to no income for the following months, as many businesses have had to let employees go in the midst of this uncertainty.
After Hurricane Nate in 2017, we recognized the community's ability to unite in response to adversity, and the need for a centralized fund that can redirect donations in a transparent and timely manner.
For this reason, we have teamed up with the Municipal Emergency Commission and Liaison Commission, handing over our existing capital and offering them our fund collection service. Starting March 23rd 2020, we have been using our platforms to collect donations and redirect all funds to the local Liaison Commission.
The funds raised are directed towards:
- Gathering information on the unemployment that has been generated during this crisis and identify family groups that will be most affected (with the help of employers and of the Caja Costarricense del Seguro Social). The Statistics and Census subcommission created an online survey that reached over 1400 people, and allowed them to identify the families at higher risk. They also applied a survey to local businesses to get a better understanding of the level of unemployment in the area. During the month of October they will be applying a survey to the business sector, to evaluate the current state of unemployment.
-Education and information for the population in order to: prevent spreading of the COVID-19, adapt family expenses to the new reality, legal and financial advice for families and companies, psychological support to the population. These activities have been streamed via Facebook or through virtual gatherings on Zoom, and organized by the Health, Education and Recreation subcomission.
-Creating a food bank of supplies that low-income families could lack: mostly food and hygiene products. With the Social Assistance subcommission, we have dedicated a space next to our office for people to deliver their donations, sort and distribute food packs. So far, over 1,100 food packs have been distributed, bringing aid to over 650 families.
-Developing a local food production plan: this is not only tackling food security, but also generates solidarity, improves nutrition, and in turn this keeps the money inside the community. (Follow the hashtag #MonteverdeConsumeLocal on Facebook and Instagram to learn more)
-Documentation of the experience: funds have been used to generate and share audiovisual documentation on the whole process of organization and actions used to face this emergency through our local online news site, Zona Alta Medios. This material has proven useful to communicate, evaluate and serve as a model for other communities.