As the coronavirus pandemic swept across the globe in early 2020, it seemed to hit wealthier countries first. Now, it has begun reaching developing nations, where there is more poverty, denser populations, weaker healthcare systems, and fewer resources to fight the virus.
By April 1, 2020, the virus widely circulated in Colombia with more than 1,000 confirmed cases – a spike of 33 percent from just two days prior. Health experts suspect that at least four times as many people are infected but remain untested, potentially raising the figure to 4,000 cases. Amidst the pandemic, many businesses have been forced to close with devastating effects to the economy and personal livelihoods. A ban on air travel has brought ecotourism to a standstill, putting pressure on rural communities that depend on this income for survival.
In some regions of the country, like the high mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta at the northern tip of Colombia, rural communities are being cut off from larger cities during the quarantine, making it exceedingly difficult for families to procure food and basic necessities.
These are the types of communities where Women for Conservation focuses the majority of its wildlife protection efforts – isolated areas in highly inaccessible forests and mountains that are often hours from the nearest town.
With its normal daily activities suspended, Women for Conservation has turned its focus to urgent relief efforts, seeking to deliver basic supplies and food necessities to many of the rural families with whom it works during these tumultuous times when mass food scarcity is on the rise. To date, more than 25 women, forest guards, and their families near major biodiversity hotspots in Colombia have received vital support with the provision of rice, beans, vegetables, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies, all made possible by the generous support of Women for Conservation donors who funded these activities.
Individuals and their families who have received these necessities play a critical role in protecting Colombia’s endangered wildlife and endemic species, ensuring nature conservation in some of the world’s most important sites that do not receive government assistance. In its own small way, Women for Conservation is striving to bring calm in these times of uncertainty and ensure food security to some of those who need it most.
You can help to support these efforts by making a donation to Women for Conservation’s Urgent Relief Response Fund, in which just $9.90 can feed a family with rice for one month.