By: Smriti Iyer: IMAGO Global Grassroots, Program Manager

COVID-19 has accelerated changes in how the world functions through positives such as flexibility in our own work schedules and how we now leverage technology but has also wreaked havoc on health systems and countries around the world.

A year into this pandemic, we have the vaccine but the distribution and access to it has been anything but equal. For us at IMAGO it means being part of two worlds simultaneously: since April, while staff at our DC office have the privilege of being vaccinated and watching the city return to some form of familiarity, our staff in India and Paraguay have witnessed sharp rises in the number of cases and deaths and have returned to lockdowns many times.

In DC, we now frequently wake up to emails, messages, and phone calls from our team, partners, and family in other parts of the world about people getting sick or being unable to find a hospital bed or oxygen. Often, it is the heartbreaking news of people who have not survived. The current wave of COVID-19 that is affecting Latin America, India, and South Asia has been agonizing to watch, especially from a distance. The grief of our team members and partners has been emotionally taxing on all of us. At the same time, it has pushed us to think harder on how to create spaces for connection and the feeling of community to close the distance and support our team and partner organizations, some of whom have been at the forefront of COVID relief efforts in their countries. Navigating this dichotomy of where we are globally will continue to be a learning journey for all of us. 

This dichotomy also underscores the need to continue to bolster our partners and clients through our expertise and networks to quickly adapt to the new contexts that present themselves in the coming years. 

IMAGO is committed to supporting the organizations we work with to advance on their missions and scale the work they do to change the face of education, health, poverty, and gender as it exists today. The world at large desperately needs organizations that think deeply and differently about the communities they work in and we aspire to continue to be part of that journey.