Village Enterprise believes that it is important for our community to understand how we will be supporting some of the most vulnerable populations during the global pandemic.
This is a virus that does not know borders, race, or how much a person has in their bank account. It will impact the lives of many, but it will impact those living in extreme poverty, with little or no financial buffer, and with limited access to health care, the most. Such as our Village Enterprise business owners: past, current, and future. It will impact them during the crisis and after the crisis as the world finds its feet again. Village Enterprise is needed now more than ever.
Our staff is our number one priority at this time. We often talk about our business mentors as the backbone of the organization; without them fit and healthy, no work is possible. In order to protect our staff and our business owners, we have introduced the following measures:
· We have set up a new email account for staff to submit questions for immediate feedback around health concerns. This is monitored by our Director of Talent Management, COO, and Vice President of Africa Operations.
· Our operations (disbursements, trainings, bi-weekly meetings, and mentoring) will be temporarily suspended, with Kenya and Uganda offices closed the week of March 23rd. Staff will be paid during this time, but will not be expected to deduct these days from their leave balance.
· We have shared this short video with all our staff to help spread information about how the virus is transmitted and how we can protect ourselves. Where possible, field staff will also share this video with their home communities.
· We have canceled all planned international, regional, and national travel and, where needed, we are in process of discussing project extensions with donors and partners.
· We have temporarily suspended operations in Uganda and Kenya due to directives from the governments and will continue to monitor the situation on the ground.
· We have evacuated international staff to their country of record, where possible.
· We have created a multi-scenario plan which we will be ready to implement or adapt as the situation requires.
Our senior management team is holding daily meetings to discuss the impact of Covid-19 and how we must respond. We are living in a fast-changing time, but it is a time that will pass. Once it does, Village Enterprise will be ready to put our best foot forward in the continuing fight against extreme poverty.
As we respond to this unprecedented crisis that will affect many of us, at Village Enterprise we are committed to:
1. Openness and communication
2. Contextual responses
3. Flexibility and creativity to address this global pandemic and to protect our employees’ and communities’ health
As a community member, your support is more needed than ever: as difficult and disruptive as the coronavirus has been in wealthy countries, it will probably be much more devastating in poor Sub-Saharan African countries that have significantly worse health-care systems and social protection. Stay with us as we navigate these uncertain times together.