Let me thank you all, right from the start of this short reflection on the year of COVID. Thanks to you, we were able to start providing help really quickly. Few can say that they were prepared for the arrival of the pandemic and the impact of the anti-epidemic measures. Essentially, all of us felt insecure during the first days and weeks, losing to some extent the ability to make sense of what was going to happen next. It was encouraging to see how quickly People in Need, with its hundreds of colleagues in dozens of countries around the world and at home, began to grapple with what we could do and how we could help, instead of giving into fear and anxiety.
We usually focus on the weakest and the situation has hit them the hardest. Poor people, often living off of day labour or occasional employment, got into deep distress the fastest. Children from vulnerable families, whether on the run from the war or living on the margins of society, could not continue their education online. People in less developed countries or regions did not have enough information on how to prevent the spread of the virus, ensure adequate hygiene, be tested or receive the necessary medical care. The effects of the pandemic have been underscored by structural problems.
Where we were able, we immediately expanded our work to include activities against the spread of COVID-19, promoting education and hygiene and mitigating the socio-economic impacts associated with lockdowns across entire countries.
During the first phase of the crisis, PIN had a healthy response, which was quick, confident and humble towards its mission – to help those who need it. Without private donors and the support of institutional donors, governments and international organisations,
we would not have been able to provide this assistance, so they deserve a massive thanks from us. The most important thing now is for the strong, developed countries to provide enough vaccines not only for their own citizens but also for the people from weaker and less developed countries, as quickly as possible.
Our country programmes and services continued and remained operational, albeit with difficulty, throughout the year regardless of the pandemic. I am glad that, despite the difficulties, we were able to maintain the level of aid practically the same as it was before the pandemic and that the organisation managed the situation very well in the eyes of its own employees - and that, according to the satisfaction survey, the PIN is seen as a good place to work.
Šimon Pánek, Chief Executive Officer of People in Need