Best of 2020 – A Year in Review

Despite a global pandemic, we still had some reasons to smile about and be grateful for at CBM.
© CBM/ Hayduk

As the year comes to an end, we reflect on important events and achievements for our organisation this year.

2020 was an unprecedented and extraordinary year. COVID-19 continues to be a global crisis, leaving its mark in more and more countries every day. As individuals, it continues to test our resolve, demanding from us patience, resilience, faith and compassion. As a global community on the other hand it is testing our spirit of togetherness, by asking us to make sacrifices in our own lives for the benefit of wider society.

We now take a moment to say a big 'Thank you' to all our supporters. Thank you for staying by our side, for contributing in every possible way to ensure that CBM was able to reach disadvantaged communities and marginalised people all over the world with our life-saving work. 

Let's take a walk down memory lane and remind ourselves of all that we have achieved and made possible during an extremely abnormal and worrisome year. 

Innovations during a global pandemic

This photo shows a boat full of food material and packets, labelled CBM. Some men and unloading the boat. The Lake Victoria can be seen in the background.

Food items being transported via boat amid the coronavirus pandemic to the remote Buvuma islands in Uganda.


To avoid a dire scenario of poverty, starvation, or even death, CBM was quick to think on its feet and adapt to the ever-evolving situation, not just to reach people with disabilities and vulnerable populations, but also to provide support and expertise to our field partners worldwide. In this Devex article, CBM weighs in on rapid response efforts, business continuity, and new operating models amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Read more about our work during the Coronavirus pandemic:

  1. COVID-19 Matrix to provide guidance on possible action points in community development and mobilization in relation to COVID-19 preparedness and response
  2. Guidance note for COVID-19 to support our eye health partners and communities they serve, in their efforts to combat this global health crisis
  3. Policy paper on lessons learnt from the Coronavirus crisis for the implementation of sustainable development
  4. Lessons from CBM’s response to COVID-19 in India: Agility makes the difference.

Have a look at our work in - 

Africa: Nigeria, Uganda, Cameroon, Ethiopia

Asia: Pakistan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, India

Important milestones

This photo shows a 3 year old girl wearing a white dress playing with a balloon with an African man wearing a CBM Tshirt.

CBM celebrated a milestone in 2020 – the recipient of our 15 millionth cataract operation was a three-year-old child, Nakisinde in Uganda. She is pictured here playing with social worker Simon Mugerwa after her cataract surgery.


Celebrating 15 Million Cataract Operations

Thanks to all our wonderful donors, CBM was able to celebrate a milestone this year - our 15 millionth cataract operation was carried out! Because of this surgery, three-year-old Nakisinde from Uganda can finally discover the world with her own eyes. CBM has reached this milestone thanks to our doctors working tirelessly to provide eyesight for the past 53 years.

CBM’s longstanding partnership with Myanmar ends trachoma for good

Myanmar has become the latest country to eliminate trachoma – the world’s leading infectious cause of preventable blindness - after validation results were announced by the World Health Organization (WHO) in September this year.

Through its longstanding commitment CBM has supported the government of this South-East-Asian country and worked in partnership with WHO, local and international organisations to achieve this milestone in the fight against avoidable blindness and Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

Inclusion matters

Last month CBM co-sponsored the ‘Global Perspectives 2020’ conference on inclusion, where we focussed on the importance of inclusion and how CBM is empowering local communities to have their own voice and advocate for themselves. In this podcast you will learn about the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and how CBM is ensuring our policies not only include people with disabilities, but that they are also actively consulted when designing the response.

This photo shows 2 men and 2 women standing on a stage, dressed formally. One woman is holding a certificate of appreciation.

(from left to right) Dr. Michael Fembeck (Program Manager of the Essl Foundation), Deborah Tigere (CBM Country Director, Zimbabwe), Edvina Dedic (Essl Foundation) and Martin Essl (founder of the Essl Foundation)


Winning big at the ‘Zero Projects’ Award

Earlier this year, CBM was felicitated at the prestigious Zero Project Awards in Vienna at the United Nations in the category ‘Innovative Practice 2020 on Inclusive Education and ICT’.

In 2018, CBM began converting three special schools in Zimbabwe in partnership with the Jairos Jiri Association, our long-time partner and the largest disability NGO in Zimbabwe. The centres are truly inclusive, teaching children with physical, visual, and hearing disabilities alongside children without disabilities from early childhood onwards. As of 2019, the centres teach 440 children with disabilities.

Invaluable reports released

An 11 year old Ethiopian girl with a head scarf wearing a blue school uniform and reading a book in Braille, more students are in the background.

11-year-old Husniya attends an inclusive school in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where she reads her school books in Braille.


Recently we published a comprehensive, evidence-based field handbook on early rehabilitation in conflicts and disasters,  to prepare rehabilitation professionals for emergency settings and act as a reference for safe practice of early rehabilitation of major trauma in emergency medical response situations.

Earlier in the year we published our new Disability and Gender Analysis Toolkit to help us ‘walk the talk’ on disability and gender equality. It was developed to support staff, partners and allies in strengthening capacity to address systemic and deeply entrenched discriminatory practices and provides practical tools for stronger disability and gender analysis to inform our planning, practice and systems.

Happy Holidays!


Happy holidays from your CBM family! We thank you once again for your continued support and trust in us, and we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, full of light, love and blessings!