COVID-19 Update from ACCF and the Grumeti Fund Team
Due to COVID-19, the Tanzanian government issued a shutdown for all group gatherings. In partnership with district health authorities and local government, the Grumeti Fund team activated communication and awareness campaigns related to health and best practices with thousands of local community members in rural Tanzanian villages.
ACCF remains more committed than ever to our work and we are proud of the team for their quick response to help the people we serve in Tanzania.
Thank you to all of the donors, followers, supporters and partners of ACCF!
Please read below for a full update from the team on the front lines in Tanzania.
There is now little doubt that we are living in unprecedented times and the full ramifications and impacts of this global pandemic are yet to be fully understood. It is during these times of great uncertainty that we find ourselves in need of good news and positivity more than ever.
The Grumeti Fund is not immune to the far-reaching impact of this global virus. The arrival earlier this week of COVID-19 in Tanzania has dramatically affected our day-to-day operations. Luckily, the 350,000 acres of the western Serengeti – that we are privileged to call home – continues to thrive, as the virus has not disrupted the ebbs and flows of the natural world. The wildebeest continue to calve, the rain clouds continue to roll in every afternoon, the herds of elephants drift across the vast plains, and the newly established black rhino continue to thrive. With proactive measures in place, we expect our field-based conservation and anti-poaching teams to continue their critically important work to manage and secure the Grumeti concession area.
Unfortunately, for the foreseeable future, the work of our Community Outreach and Relationships departments have now had to cease normal operations. However, in the brief time that we had before the government issued a shutdown of all group gatherings, key messages on coronavirus were shared with over 1,000 local community members. Subsequently, we have put in place novel initiatives to continue to generate awareness that include a motorbike with speakers broadcasting coronavirus-sensitization messaging, distributing coronavirus awareness and best practice posters in Ki-Swahili and multiple radio advertisements done in collaboration with district health authorities and local government.
We also foresee challenges that derive not from the virus itself, but from the worldwide reaction to the virus and struggling global supply chains. A lot of equipment and materials that we require in our day-to-day work are imported – from dog food for the canine unit and milk for Zaituni (the orphaned rhino calf) to essential firefighting and anti-poaching equipment. However, through taking proactive and flexible measures, we expect to be able to overcome many of these challenges. We continue to work towards having more black rhino arrive at Grumeti later this year, the much anticipated opening of the new RISE applied research facility, and the continued implementation of exciting capacity building programs like Women in the Field.
We remain committed, more than ever, to continuing to carry out the diverse work activities and special projects of the Grumeti Fund despite these challenging and uncertain times. Thank you to everyone who is a follower, supporter, partner or donor of the Grumeti Fund. We feel blessed to be a part of a strong, global community and will make sure to continue to share stories and information about the important conservation work we are doing during these trying and uncertain times.