As COVID-19 continues to be a global tragedy with catastrophic consequences, we are continuing to prioritise the health and safety of our staff and the communities that we work with across south-eastern Tanzania. These communities are particularly vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic, so it is our utmost priority to mitigate any risk of exposure. We continue to halt fieldwork, tree planting, and harvesting activities until we know it is safe to do so, and our staff is working diligently whilst strictly adhering to the government’s social distancing and all precautionary measures.
In a way, we are lucky that it is currently the long rainy season in Tanzania in which we normally have reduced fieldwork operations due to heavy rainfall and flooding. Our core activities change on a seasonal basis and tree planting is our main ongoing project during this time as the rains provide the water necessary for seedlings to grow healthily. Whilst our tree planting has been significantly affected due to COVID-19, we still have some positive news as despite the ongoing outbreak as we were able to plant approximately 700 seedlings in Mavuji village, Kilwa District. This tree planting was done by the village jogging team who were already in the village at the time of the outbreak and thus did not pose a risk to the community. Regardless of the reduced risk, all tree planting activities adhered to social distancing measures.
May signifies the final month of the long rains so this will most likely be the last of our tree planting for a while, although we will continue to nurture seedlings across our tree nurseries for the duration of the dry season until planting is possible again. We are hopeful that later in the year our fieldwork will return to normal and that the current health crisis will have improved. We want to thank all of our partners and donors who supported, and continue to support, tree planting this year, Beautiful Cups being one of them! We have now planted a total of 7,181 seedlings between January and April 2020 which communities will continue to monitor in the coming months. This is an amazing number of tree seedlings and makes a big difference in the rehabilitation of degraded areas of forest and the protection of endangered and vulnerable species.