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27 April 2020

Keeping safe at WeForest during Covid19 pandemic

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As our mission to ‘Make Earth Cooler’ through restoring forests continues, we are working to ensure our staff and colleagues remain safe and healthy. Now more than ever we are reminded just how closely our own health and wellbeing is connected to nature.

Our latest update sets out how we are responding to the current crisis, and potential impacts on our work.

Keeping safe

  • COVID-19 risk assessments have been conducted across all our projects and we continue to monitor with our country directors on a weekly basis and put in place appropriate mitigation measures where needed.
  • Remote working: Travel bans and lockdowns in all our locations from our HQ in Brussels to our offices in Zambia and Ethiopia mean than all our staff that would ordinarily be in an office, are working from home or with shift patterns to limit presence at field offices.
  • Safe hygiene and educational awareness: Washing hands facilities and sanitizers are available in field locations. Here in Tanzania:
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  • Social distancing in the field: Most of us now know what social distancing looks and feels like in our towns and cities. Our field operations have also implemented measures to keep safe:
    • All training planned from April 1 has been postponed.  In the weeks prior to this training took place with participants maintaining recommended distances (see photo above, in our Zambia / Luanshya project).
    • In several of the tree nurseries working shift patterns have changed to ensure that fewer people are in the site at the same time.
  • Staying in touch:  these are anxious times for everyone. Our teams, working remotely, are encouraged to be in touch regularly and support each other personally and professionally.


Operational impact

Fortunately for now the impact on current planting and restoration activities is minimal since we are not yet in the key planting season.  June is the key month for these activities to begin in Ethiopia and we will be monitoring the situation closely.  Our projects in Malawi and Brazil (Atlantic Forest) have planting activities that do not begin until later in the year when we hope the situation will have improved so that the activities can go ahead as planned. Nevertheless, the lockdown in the State of Amazonas affects the extensive consultation with local farmers in one of our newest projects and will reduce the scale of our 2020 objectives there. The closure of schools in Malawi and Tanzania means we have postponed our awareness-raising activities and closure of publics markets in Ethiopia will also delay some of the forest-friendly livelihood activities that rely on the purchase of small livestock (such as sheep and poultry).