MARCH 21st, 2020
A Statement from our Managing Director
I hope this message finds you and your loved ones safe and well.
We’re living in unprecedented times, and I wanted to tell you a little about how SEED and Madagascar are coping with COVID-19 and how we plan to move forward under the current challenging conditions.
As I write, Madagascar has confirmed its first cases of COVID-19 and we fear that these numbers will rise rapidly in the very near future. The SEED Madagascar office in Fort Dauphin had a scare last week, leading us to temporarily close our office and isolate staff. While testing showed that this was a false alarm and the office is now open, we fear that last week was just a glimpse of the fear and disruption to come. This week, we lost some of our international staff as they returned to their home countries before Madagascar closed its borders on Thursday, and all of us have been spending the week supporting each other, developing resources for the community, and preparing SEED for the tough time that we know is ahead.
As a supporter of SEED, you’ll already know just how limited the health infrastructure is on the island, making it ill-prepared and highly vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19. Communities, health clinics, and Government are simply not prepared or equipped to cope with the sweeping devastation that COVID-19 is likely to cause in Madagascar. Whilst people in developed countries are being told to wash their hands and use hand sanitiser, in Madagascar, families, schools, and even hospitals do not have access to water, and hand sanitiser is the equivalent price of a day's salary for most.
SEED’s resources to help are extremely limited but we’re still committed to supporting people by developing and distributing information to promote community preparedness to schools, churches, other NGOs, and individuals. We’re working through social media, radio, and partners to promote awareness, which we hope will prepare people and ultimately save lives.
For the 80 national staff and 15 international staff in-country, these remain unsettling and ever changing times. All will be affected by COVID-19 as their families and friends struggle with the impact of COVID-19 through illness of loved ones or loss of family income, and our thoughts are with the team on the ground in Madagascar.
Whilst the health and welfare of our team always comes first, for as long as we are able, we will continue to run services in support of Maternal and Child Health, Reproductive and Sexual Health Rights, WASH, Education, Livelihoods, and Conservation. We know that there will be challenges ahead and that the coming months could prove the hardest that we’ve known in our 20 years of existence. We cannot predict all of the problems that we will face, but one difficulty we will certainly face is finding the funds needed to keep staff in place and buildings secure through what we are predicting will be at least three months of limited ability to continue with projects. We are asking you to consider if you can support SEED, in a one off or regular donation (which can be made here), to help us through these next few months. Your support would be very much appreciated.
Standing shoulder to shoulder with our supporters, our wonderful team, and, of course, the communities that we serve, we will get through this and will keep you regularly updated through our social media feeds, website, and newsletter.
If you have any ideas on how you may help, or any particular concerns, then please do contact me by email on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to discuss.
Thank you and best wishes,