Message on Covid-19

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

To our friends, colleagues, partners and supporters,

Covid-19 has become a black swan of our age. It has affected nearly every sector and every person around the world. How we work and live has drastically changed.

But we remain committed to delivering on our mission. After all, some of the most vulnerable communities in many countries rely on our help. At the same time, we want to make sure our staff is safe and well.

Like many other organizations, we have put in place our contingency plans so that we can continue our work efficiently. Our priorities remain the same: ensuring the health and safety of our staff while meeting the needs of our key stakeholders, from farmers to donors.

What we are doing

  • We have a dedicated emergency committee who are following the latest developments in the UAE and elsewhere, adjusting our contingency plans accordingly and keeping our staff and partners up to date about any changes to our business processes.
  • Our offices are following the latest instructions and regulations by relevant local authorities. All of our staff members are working from home until further notice, except for a few colleagues who are looking after our field experiments. All staff have been advised to practice social distancing and be extra careful about personal hygiene.
  • We have moved all business processes to our cloud infrastructure. Meetings are done via teleconferencing and e-signatures are used for documents.
  • Business travel has been suspended for more than a month. All staff have also been advised to postpone personal travel.
  • We have postponed all our events, including training courses. But we are implementing remote training for some of our projects and are developing plans to do more with our partners.
  • We also want to give something back to the community of our host country. So we have launched a new initiative to support local food and feed production on our experimental farm.
  • We are looking into how the current situation might impact our projects in about 30 countries. And we will also draw lessons to improve our planning and operations in the future.
  • Lastly, as before, we continue to share news and updates about our work through our channels. We are also launching a blog page on our website dedicated to Covid-19 and its impact on food security, nutrition and livelihoods in marginal environments. To stay up to date, visit our website, follow us on social media or sign up to receive our newsletter.

These are indeed testing times. But there are some silver linings to what is surely a very dark cloud.

We are learning new ways of staying productive while we are working from home and our children are learning remotely. Our carbon footprint is significantly down as our commute and travel is almost nil. We are starting to appreciate the little things we often take for granted. And of course, many of us are learning how important it is to spend quality time with our families and loved ones.

When everything returns to normal, we will double our efforts to make up for any lost time. Together we will come out of this stronger and smarter. Until then, keep yourselves, your families and communities safe.

Stay well, Ismahane Elouafi Director General