Royal African Response to COVID-19
The Royal African Response to COVID-19 has been about looking after our Royal African Family and doing what we can for some of the most vulnerable members in our communities on the continent.
Our first priority was, and still is, continuing to employ and take care of our staff and mobile camp crews. Once we had systems in place to ensure their continued financial support we started the Tippy Tap project with them. To date, a total of 755 Tippy Tap hand washing stations have been built by our crew members and community members we know in their homes, all over Kenya, Botswana, and Tanzania. As we have been made aware, thorough hand washing is the most effective way individuals can stop the spread of the virus, and our teams and their families have had a lot of fun with this project, creating their variations on the design we circulated.
As lockdowns were imposed, a vast amount of people in our communities lost their jobs and were no longer able to buy food to feed themselves or their families. Using our Royal African Foundation, here are some of the ways we helped to tackle this immediate short term need for food relief during the lockdown.
In Nairobi, we joined the Team Pankaj effort. So far, Team Pankaj has made and distributed food parcels to 100,000 families and 102 orphanages and 1,000 child-headed homes in Nairobi’s poorest slums. These parcels contain enough food to last a family for at least two weeks as well as face masks and sanitation materials. They have also made cash transfers for food to 130,000 of the neediest people in Nairobi’s slums. This local initiative was set up by a fellow safari operator Pankaj Shah and will carry on as long as lockdowns are in place in Nairobi.
In the rural outskirts of the Masaai Mara, local markets were prohibited from taking place, so we partnered with other organizations to make and distribute grow bags so that local community members could grow their fruit and vegetables at home. 200 households are now growing their own vegetables and 400 more grow bags are in the process of being made and distributed by trained agronomists. Additionally, we helped to distribute 1,000 government food aid parcels to the neediest families in the Olderkesi group ranch on the south-eastern border of the Mara.
In Maun, with schools closed, vulnerable children were not able to attend schools like Shelter Botswana preschool where they usually receive meals that are a lifeline for them. With the help of a very generous friend and guest, we have distributed food parcels to 174 children and their families or caretakers who did not receive the limited government food aid in Maun. We are continuing to supply food relief to these families until the schools reopen in August.
Continuing to support our crews in Tanzania, Kenya, and Botswana is perhaps the most effective food relief effort we have done, for it helps them to continue to contribute to their local economies. In addition to this, in Tanzania 300 face masks and 200 mosquito nets have been distributed to our crew members and their extended families to help them keep safe and well.
What are our next steps?
We are developing several education and conservation projects which we hope to carry out with our crews when lockdown measures cease and it is safe to do so. Stay tuned for updates about these in the next newsletters.
For those who haven’t seen it already, here is the video of the Tippy Tap Project!
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