You're signed up!



Our Response to COVID-19

 

This page will be regularly updated with official statements related to COVID-19.

7th of May

Trees for the Future (TREES) continues to follow leading global health standards in our response to the Coronavirus and is keeping staff and farming families’ health top of mind. We have extended COVID-19 protocol through the end of May, with an understanding that the restrictions will be extended if necessary. 

“TREES staff and farmers are a community of problem solvers and are meeting the challenges of COVID-19 with perseverance and innovative solutions,” says Executive Director John Leary. “Although these are trying times, these necessary changes to our programs have proven our adaptability. As we think about the future of our work, we can expect to see some of these changes carry over into our projects long term, ultimately helping us to reach more people.”

We are encouraging field staff to focus on Protection, Remote Communications, and Coordinated Assistance.

Protection

Protecting staff and farmers remains a top priority at TREES. All staff have been provided with detailed instructions on best practices during COVID-19, including handwashing, limiting trips outside their homes, and social distancing.

Remote Communications

All headquarters and field staff continue to work from home and communicate daily as the team orchestrates distance and virtual training for its thousands of program participants spread across six countries.

Field staff are in regular phone contact with farmers to provide guidance, answer questions, and check on their well being. In projects where Lead Farmers have smartphones, WhatsApp Groups have been created with Technicians and Lead Farmers to increase ease of communication. TREES developed a new ‘Remote Communications Recording’ tool within their existing monitoring and evaluation reporting system to document all calls, concerns, and communications with farmers. This helps the organization to track and aggregate information, provide advice on key concerns expressed across project areas, and develop target responses to needs in real time. Farmers can easily report issues to staff and staff can provide prompt feedback.

To provide the necessary training to farmers from a distance, TREES staff are currently producing short videos in local languages to describe key processes in nursery development including: seed preparation, soil preparation, nursery care, etc. For example, this is especially an urgent need in Senegal, as farmers are preparing for nursery season, a critical period in Forest Garden establishment and success. These videos are being sent to Lead Farmers via WhatsApp to use as references to guide.

Coordinated Assistance

One of the most pressing challenges program farmers face is accessing markets during COVID because of closures, restrictions, and evolving circumstances. TREES field staff are working to help farmers identify buyers while headquarters accelerates plans to provide farmers with educational materials on economics and marketing.

Read the latest update shared with staff here. As we continue to adapt, we will keep our community updated. Check back here for our ongoing response and direct any questions about the organization’s response to info@trees.org.

Last but not least, we are grateful for our dedicated staff for their diligence amidst this crisis. And we continue to be amazed by incredible supporters who continue to give during this difficult time. Thank you.

– Your Trees for the Future Team

 

6th of April

Trees for the Future (TREES) continues to stress the seriousness of COVID-19 with our staff and farming communities. As the threat of the virus spreads into communities far and wide, Trees for the Future (TREES) made the decision last week to stop all in-person, face-to-face field activities until further notice. All offices will also remain closed for the time being.

TREES has cut all non-essential spending to ensure that both farmers and staff are provided for. All staff will continue receiving their salary as they work on achieving organizational goals remotely. Staff will continue to track farmer progress and provide training and guidance via phone and video training. Field staff have been given additional phone and wifi credits to account for the increases in telecommunications during this time. 

Farmers in our program will receive virtual support from technicians and lead farmers. Rural farmers in sub-Saharan Africa are among the most vulnerable populations when it comes to health and economic crises. Farmers enrolled in the Forest Garden Program have the ability to grow a diverse array of nutritional produce for themselves and their families. The program has also provided them with the ability to save money for times like these. While this virus will undoubtedly have ripple effects into every regional economy, we will continue to work with these farmers to ensure their resilience. 

TREES staff continue to quickly produce short in-country videos in local languages to describe key processes, such as seed preparation, soil preparation, nursery care, etc. These videos will be sent to Lead Farmers via WhatsApp to use as references to guide other farmers in small groups. TREES will resume standard in-person training with farmers as soon as it is safe.

The latest memo to staff detailing these directives can be seen in English and in French.

We are grateful for our dedicated staff for their hard work and perseverance amidst this crisis. We are also thankful to our incredible supporters who continue to give during this time. 

– Your Trees for the Future Team

 

23rd of March 

Trees for the Future continues to take all necessary action around the novel Coronavirus to protect our staff and the farmers we serve. Following the leading health and safety guidelines from the CDC, WHO, and the countries where we operate, we are adapting the way we work. 

Our small headquarters staff in the United States will continue to work remotely until the government and health officials lift current safety recommendations and mandates. 

Currently, the outbreak has remained low (compared to other countries) across our project locations but we know this will change. In Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda the recommendations and mandates vary from country to country. TREES has opted to follow the strictest set of guidelines across all program countries, including limiting gatherings to no more than five people. All field offices received a detailed list of mandatory adaptations this week. You can read more about these directions in our latest memo available in English and French here.

Training and education are a big part of what we do at Trees for the Future. In addition to the social distancing and small group guidelines for our field offices and trainings, our staff is producing short in-country videos in local languages to describe specific processes that farmers would typically be learning in person: seed preparation, soil preparation, nursery care, etc. These videos are being sent to lead farmers to use as references during small group training. 

Trees for the Future continues to take this ever-evolving issue very seriously for the safety of our team and the farmers we serve. We are emphasizing the importance of ongoing communication as well as attention and adherence to in-country mandates.

We will continue to adjust as needed and will provide updates here. 

– Your Trees for the Future Team

 

13th of March – Initial statement to the TREES community

We can’t help but think of each and every one of you as COVID-19 seems to be affecting all of us on some level.

We are closely monitoring the pandemic and are continuing to keep the safety of Forest Garden farmers, our staff, our partners, and our community top of mind as we take any and all action necessary.

As members of the Trees for the Future family, you have always shown us how connected we are and that we are our best when we come together for the greater good. In such a trying time, it is important to remember these principles, especially as we have the ability to act on them in a digital space.

Just as you have helped care for the trees we plant and the families we are work with, we know you will continue to share this type of goodness with others. That’s who you’ve shown us you are, and that’s powerful.

We will continue to share updates on Trees for the Future and the impact you’re making for so many people and our environment. We hope it will continue to signify positivity on your feeds and in your inboxes, the innate goodness of humanity, how we can come together to make great change, and the light that you shine for so many people around the world.

Stay tuned for more updates as we adapt to pressing circumstances.

As always, we wish you good health and safety.

– Your Trees for the Future Team