By John Dallmann, CEO & President of EMI
All of us at EMI have been affected by the global pandemic. Though this crisis isn’t going to change ‘who’ we are or ‘why’ EMI exists, it has been challenging to pivot and actively work at changing some of the EMI ‘how’ and ‘what’ we do.
I’ve been very encouraged to see God continuing to use EMI and lead us through the COVID storm. Here are a few of the ways EMI has responded:
- EMI’s Crisis Management Teams (CMTs) continue to monitor the pandemic and create guidelines for our staff. This investment of ‘thought energy’ into the crisis is paying off. I’ve been impressed by how seamlessly staff have jumped into these roles and put their CMT training into practice!
- EMI USA was awarded a WASH Assessment grant for a project in Alaska. The task is to determine how to improve water, sanitation, and hygiene conditions in Alaska Native communities in remote regions of the state. This could potentially lead to EMI implementing a large WASH effort in Alaska. I’m excited to enter this new territory for EMI!
- New staff candidates have continued to pursue positions with EMI despite the COVID upheaval – including two design professionals mobilized through EMI USA and one through EMI UK!
- EMI established a Financial Impact Committee for Support in early April to assist all of our offices during the pandemic in three areas: 1) Reducing expenses, 2) Increasing / maintaining income, and 3) Providing financial & HR guidelines.
- To date, EMI India has given pro-bono assistance to five rural mission hospitals to prepare for COVID patients. One example is the Asha Kiran Hospital COVID-19 Ward Project for a Christian hospital in central India. I was very excited to see EMI using our design skills to support the frontlines in the fight against COVID.
- We’ve been looking for creative ways to continue design work and professional development while in lockdown. EMI Cambodia offered a Project Management virtual short-course. EMI MENA has continued ‘VIZ’ architectural rendering projects, and has engaged in remote masterplan design.
- After close to two months of COVID lockdown in Uganda, a relaxation of restrictions has allowed the Workshop to restart and allowed a partial re-opening of construction sites. We thank God that better than half of EMI Uganda’s construction workforce are now re-engaged. Most workers and their families rely on this income, living week to week.
- EMI USA was recently awarded a Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loan. While some of the intricacies of this aren’t fully clear, we feel this will be a great help to the EMI USA office’s financial picture. It also allows us to focus fundraising efforts on our overseas teams.
- EMI’s COVID aid campaign was launched in May to help us cover the growing financial gap from canceled projects and programs. Our desire is to keep our overseas staff teams financially viable until the pandemic disruption ends and project work can resume.
Despite some very heavy blows in this COVID-19 storm, I’m amazed at how EMI is doing so far! We serve a miracle-working God! Will there be good times ahead? Let us place our faith and our hope in God!
“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,” Nahum 1:7 (NIV)