Today the Ministry of Health in Zambia held a national news conference, declaring that there have been no reported cases of Corvid-19, though it is imminent. Strict rules and guidelines have been put in place for travellers, schools and colleges, and many other areas. As of Friday this week all schools and colleges will be closed, giving the health workers time to educate the teachers, pupils and students about the coronavirus.
As regards The Butterfly Tree the following measures have been applied:
- The running of the UK charity will continue as normal as all the Trustees and volunteers work from their own homes
- Fundraising will continue – many people are still suffering from the affects of the drought
- Food will be distributed and assistance given to rural health posts during the pandemic
- We are doing everything we can to support our Zambia Trustees and volunteers, supplying them with hand sanitizers and soap, and giving them daily updates
- As of the 14th March all international travellers will no longer be able to visit, or volunteer for The Butterfly Tree’s projects in Zambia, before May, this will then be reviewed
- We have asked our local team to limit their movements in Livingstone with it being an international tourist destination and a border to Zimbabwe
- Projects that are ongoing or under construction will be limited unless essential, such as food distribution and healthcare
- All of the above we be reviewed on a daily basis
Every single one of us, no matter where we come from or live, is impacted by this global pandemic. Therefore it is imperative that we adhere to the rules and guidelines set by the experts and to not be complacent. Being extra cautious not only helps to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, but increases the chance of contolling the pandemic.
On a happier note I am pleased to say that this month The Butterfly Tree has received two substantial donations. Firstly, we have been awarded a sizeable grant from Corteva Agriscience, a global American company for our ‘Seeds for Life‘ project, which is listed on GlobalGiving, one of our online partner platforms. This facility is used to raise money for our food and water projects.
The grant will enable us to increase the number of school gardens we support, to create sustainable feeding programmes and to raise money by selling produce to generate income. Five schools with large numbers of pupils will be given water reticulation systems. We will also be adding more boreholes to schools that have no access to safe water.
This grant will also help to provide further food distributions for the most vulnerable people who are still suffering from hunger from the severe drought. Though it is now the rainy season it will be sometime before crops can be harvested. Once COVID-19 hits Zambia, people in remote villages will be in need of further support.
Community projects, such as the beekeeping project at Muyunda, thanks to a generous grant from Give a Hand, Canada received recently received, will help communities to become more sustainable. The bees are now in the hives and progress is being made. 200 women are involved in the project, which will produce wild honey – the wax will be used to make soap, candles and crayons.
Once again we are extremely grateful to The Hilary and Neil Murphy Charitable Foundation for their considerable grant to advance Musokotwane Secondary School in the Kazungula District. The funds will be used to construct a 1×3 classroom block, two boarding houses, 4 toilets, and a water system and seeds for their school garden.
These are extremely uncertain times for all of us, we have to take care of ourselves and continue to help those most in need. We must never lose the hope that we will get through this unprecedented global crisis.