Living with the lockdown
As much of the world continues life under some form of lockdown, we pray that you and your families are keeping safe and well and finding hope in these unprecedented times. Just like you, A Rocha teams are experiencing the impacts acutely. Many serve communities in countries with weak public health systems and whose populations already face threats to their health and livelihoods. Here’s an update from some of these:
A Rocha India staff are confined to the centre where they are living and working together. No field work can happen at the moment and environmental education visits from schools have been cancelled, meaning a loss of income for A Rocha’s work here.
The A Rocha Kenya centre, Mwamba, is closed to guests and many of the staff have been sent home. The shutdown of tourism and subsequent loss of income will have a big impact on finances in the coming months. Although some fieldwork in the forest can continue, all other project work has come to a halt. However, lockdown with an entomologist from the National Museums of Kenya comes with its perks: the sighting of a butterfly at Mwamba that is potentially new to science!
With poverty increasing and the growing importance of clean water and good sanitation, A Rocha Uganda’s sustainable livelihood programmes are proving invaluable to many community members. While tippy taps offer families a water-saving solution to good hand hygiene, helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19, bio-sand filters provide clean, safe drinking water, without cutting down trees for charcoal. Nabisere Esther from Kampala thanked A Rocha for her water filter, saying, ‘During this lockdown we are almost having no income. I thank God that my family can get enough drinking water from the filter without spending money on charcoal to boil it.’
In Peru, strict curfews and restrictions on movement have been introduced, so A Rocha Peru are unable to carry out the fieldwork and community capacity building that is central to the Dry Forest project. There is a high risk of reforested areas deteriorating and dying from lack of irrigation and maintenance, which will also have big funding implications. A Rocha Peru is exploring new ways of conducting meetings and workshops through virtual learning platforms and social media.
The Government of Ghana has lifted restrictions on movement in parts of the country that were under partial lockdown. However, A Rocha Ghana continues to support the communities with which it works through coronavirus awareness and education and by providing hand sanitizer and veronica buckets to serve families who lack running water.
The importance of ensuring the wellbeing of people and the planet is clearer than ever. Thank you for praying with us for all the A Rocha teams in this role during these challenging times.