Mask-making project will benefit Bay health workers

Mask-making project will benefit Bay health workers

Mask-making project will benefit Bay health workers

Port Elizabeth non-profit company Community Conservation Funds Africa (CCFA) has launched a programme geared at making face masks more fun and accessible during the Covid-19 pandemic.

With the tourism industry devastated by the national lockdown and little hope the industry will pick up any time soon, CCFA has partnered with Baby Cuddles, a Western Cape company that designs and produces animal mascots for CCFA, to make masks for sale and to donate.

Since the lockdown, the team of seamstresses working at Baby Cuddles in Kylemore, have had to adapt and change their core business.  CCFA executive director Di Luden said the group of six women had to adapt to making masks rather than soft toys aimed at tourists.  Luden said for every mask purchased, one would be donated to Livingstone Hospital.  Following the department of health guidelines for making masks, Baby Cuddles uses the same Shweshwe cotton used for the mascots, and an alternative washed-denim look, to make the three-layer masks.

Melanie Laing of Baby Cuddles said: “I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to work with a team of very talented, wonderful women who are always happy and full of smiles, no matter what life throws at them.  “This time life threw them a pandemic but, as with so many South Africans, we have turned this situation around and are now making mascots into masks.”  With the demand for masks increasing since government regulations were introduced making it mandatory to wear them at all times, Baby Cuddles offers masks in four sizes, including  men’s, women’s, teenagers and children.

 

Click below link to read feature

https://www.heraldlive.co.za/news/2020-05-17-mask-making-project-will-benefit-bay-health-workers/

 

Kylemore seamstresses pivot from mascots to masks

Kylemore seamstresses pivot from mascots to masks

Kylemore seamstresses pivot from mascots to masks

Tourism has been devastated by Covid-19, and it is not just the obviously affected lodges, guides, tour operators and safari companies that are impacted, but also many communities whose income has suddenly come to a standstill. For a group of women sewing in the tiny settlement of Kylemore, in the Western Cape, it has meant almost their entire earnings have dried up.

The ladies sew ‘mascots’ for Community Conservation Funds Africa (CCFA), a registered NPC which is both a fundraising and grant-giving organisation, focusing on active education and empowerment in local communities. Through a partnership with Baby Cuddles, they design and produce the CCFA animal mascots. This project had created permanent employment for six women and continues to grow.

 

Without tourism though, there is no demand for the mascots, so the team of seamstresses had to adapt and change their core business. They decided to make masks, according to the Department of Health guidelines, using the Shweshwe cotton used for the mascots.

Melanie Laing of Baby Cuddles says, “I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to work with a team of very talented, wonderful women who are always happy and full of smiles, no matter what life throws at them. This time life threw them a pandemic but, as with so many South Africans, we have turned this situation around and are now making mascots into masks.”

 

“There will be three of us sewing for this project, myself and two of the ladies all working from home, and we aim to make at least 600 masks a week. The work will bring in an income to help fund and assist all nine of us in the company and our families during this Covid-19 crisis.”

Click below link to read feature

https://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/849/203939.html

Endangered Species Day 2020

Endangered Species Day 2020

Honouring Africa’s Endangered Species

 

All CCFA projects support the conservation of wild animals, either through species specific programs or through habitat support. This year we’ve chosen to highlight and celebrate the success of conservation efforts for the endangered mountain gorillas in Uganda. After years of efforts to prevent the extinction of the gorillas, the population has increased from 408 individuals in 2010 to 604 in 2019. We hope this helps provide encouragement to other conservation organisations – the hard work and dedication can save lives. However, something to bear in mind is that the time this kind of rehabilitation takes is in a sense regressive. If only humanity would support nature so that we could spend more time growing things than fighting them off; the world would be a much more peaceful place to live.

CCFA, in partnership with Tusk Trust, provides funds to the Conservation Through Public Health program, which focuses on gorilla conservation in Uganda. During the Covid-19 pandemic, CTPH is working together with the communities that live near gorilla habitats, to protect their own health and that of the greater community, so that they can all continue to protect the gorillas to the best of their ability. https://www.ccfa.africa/2019/07/31/conservation-through-public-health-ctph/

The Link Between Endangered Species, Human Existence & A Historic Pandemic

Raising awareness for endangered species during the historic nature of the pandemic currently facing humanity, seems more important than ever before. With heavy restrictions being placed on daily human activities and industry, nature has been given space to breathe; to rewild under a clearer sky. The irony of this is that the human ecosystem is suffering. We are being forced to take stock of our lives so that we might develop a better understanding of our individual contributions to the socio-cultural, ecological and economic environments of the communities, nations, and world in which we exist.

As humans, we are born of the same nature as plants and animals and yet we often fail to recognise this shared origin of species, through disrespect or abuse of natural environments and wildlife, as though they have no bearing on our lives.

We call Earth our ‘home’, thus we should take responsibility for sustaining and conserving it, so it can do the same for us. By educating ourselves about endangered species and sharing their stories with others, we can help raise awareness and ‘flatten the curve’ or even prevent the extinction of a species.

5 South African endangered species we would like to raise awareness for

Pangolins

The pangolin is the most trafficked animal species in South Africa (for their meat and scales). There are 8 species of pangolin, all of which are protected by national and international law.

Cape Vulture

This winged creature might not be the most beautiful in the animal kingdom but it certainly plays an important role. Vultures clean up after predators and help keep the spread of disease under control.

Cape Gannet

The Cape Gannet is limited to life on the African coastline and has come under threat because of the over exploitation of resources, mostly induced by the fisheries trade.

Oribi

This is one of the most endangered antelope, found mostly on South African plains. They’re endangered due to loss of habitat and poaching.

Riverine Rabbit

The nocturnal nature of this rabbit means it is only found in the Karoo. It is at risk of extinction due to habitat loss and livestock farming.

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COVID 19 Face Masks

COVID 19 Face Masks

COVID 19 Face Masks

As the current pandemic the world is facing unfolds, CCFA has recognised the need to stand together to support local communities, now more than ever before. While we remain dedicated to upholding conservation initiatives throughout Africa, we also feel called to support local communities who are struggling to provide food for their families.

We have joined forces with our mascot sewers to produce beautiful shweshwe masks. The purchase will not only support this job creation project but also help us donate masks to Livingstone Hospital in PE.

So many of you have seen and bought our beautiful animal mascots, designed and sewn in partnership with Baby Cuddles, a job creation project for women living in tiny settlement of Kylemore, in the Western Cape.  However, now due to Covid-19 and the increased demand for masks, the team of seamstresses have adapted their business and are making masks.

The masks are made according to the Department of Health guidelines, using the Shweshwe cotton used for the mascots. They are made up of 3 layers: The outer layer is 100% cotton; the middle layer –Spunbon interfacing, which inhibits the transfer of small particles yet doesn’t inhibit breathing and the inner layer is made of polyester. Elastic ear loops make putting on and taking off the mask as quick and easy as possible. There is also washed ‘denim’ cotton masks  available.

CCFA would like to appeal to our followers and supporters, to purchase masks for this great cause.  The masks are being sold in packs of two for R100 (R50 each) and for every mask purchased, one will be donated to the Livingstone Hospital in PE. Upon order and payment the masks will shipped directly to you.

CCFA Conservation Partners’ Response to COVID 19

CCFA Conservation Partners’ Response to COVID 19

CCFA conservation partners’ response during  COVID 

The COVID-19 crisis is threatening lives and livelihoods throughout Africa and the world. Years of rehabilitation and progress through conservation are being reversed due to desperation and starvation.  Sustainable practices and the projects that drive them seem near impossible to keep alive alongside a shallow breathing economy. In some ways there is little we can do with the current restrictions in place, but there are a few ways in which you can help keep Africa’s heart beating.

At CCFA, we maintain connection and commitment to our project partners by ensuring consistent communication, especially during challenging times.  We consider COVID-19 to be the biggest challenge facing humanity at present. We’d like to share the current status of CCFA supported projects, based on feedback we’ve received from our project partners, as well as some suggested support based solutions that could help save them.

Wilderness Foundation Africa (WFA)

CCFA supports WFA’s Youth Development Programme, which is communications based and requires experiential training in the field. Unfortunately social distancing rules have led to the suspension of all training programmes, including the Siyazenzela course and the Imbewu Trails. The CCFA funded pilot project for the Siyazenzela course was successfully completed in 2019 in the community surrounding the Addo Elephant Park in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

CCFA continues to support WFA during these uncertain times.  WFA plans to reassess the future development of these programmes once the South African lockdown has been lifted. The second CCFA funded Siyazenzela course is due to commence in June 2020, so there is hope that it may still be possible for this course to begin, but with so much uncertainty there is little to no specific planning that can be done.

WFA remains committed to providing opportunities for disadvantaged youths to explore the natural environment and to encourage a new generation of environmentally conscious citizens.

Rwanda Wildlife Conservation Association (RWCA)

RWCA, CCFA’s partner in Rwanda, has unfortunately had to put their community and fieldwork on hold in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the rural areas outside of Kigali. Thankfully there are conservation champions and rangers living and working within these communities, who are able to continue their work with the cranes. The team operates on a rota system in order to ensure there is always someone at the crane sanctuary to keep daily operations running.

The current most urgent costs for RWCA are those that contribute to the monitoring of the cranes in the wild and at the sanctuary and rehabilitation centre.

Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH)

CTPH, CCFA project partner in Uganda, works to prevent human and wildlife interface disease transmission, therefore the team has turned its focus towards the prevention of COVID-19 transmission between humans and gorillas. Research on whether gorillas are susceptible to the virus is inconclusive. However, due to the fact that gorillas and humans have a 98% DNA match, the CTPH team has chosen to remain cautious in their interactions with the gorillas during the pandemic.

CTPH is urgently seeking funding in this time of crisis to support the Uganda Wildlife Authority in the following ways:

  1. Training of park staff to manage tourists and gorillas during the Coronavirus and other similar respiratory disease outbreaks. This includes ensuring the seven metre viewing distance is enforced; mandatory hand washing prior to trekking; disinfection of visitors prior to ape viewing; and masking during the viewing of great apes. The staff will also be trained to use infrared thermometers, for early detection of any illness.
  2. Training of park staff and Gorilla Guardians (who safely herd gorillas back to the park when they forage from community land) on the monitoring of gorilla health and signs to watch out for which could signify COVID-19 infection in Mountain Gorillas.
  3. Training of Village Health and Conservation Teams (who reach every home in their village with critical health, hygiene and conservation information), to help communities take measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in villages where gorillas forage on community land.
  4. Distribution of posters to display in key places around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to remind people of the guidelines on how communities can prevent themselves and gorillas from contracting COVID-19 (working closely with the Ministry of Health).

Mkasanga Foundation – Makupa

It saddens us to report that along with the destructive flooding in Zambia this year, COVID-19 has placed communities in Zambia under serious threat. Makupa Chongo, founder of the Mkasanga Foundation, which aims to provide education for underprivileged girls, is witnessing this plight first hand. Most of the food crops and livestock have been destroyed. With little to no access to store bought meat, and a lack of funds due to the COVID-19 induced economic downturn, the local wildlife is under threat of poaching, as people are turning to hunting as a means to survive. With the closure of tourism in the area, many people have lost employment.

The school girls on Makupa’s programme (two of whom are sponsored by CCFA) have studied hard this year and Makupa is confident that even with the disruption they will pass their grade 9 exams. If or when schools reopen, Makupa foresees that most children won’t be able to attend because their parents will be unemployed. Overall, social morale is low and communities are living in survival mode.  Even amidst these life threatening challenges, Makupa is scheming up plans to support his community, but these plans will also require funding.

Makupa had planned to build a small grocer in his village to help mitigate poaching as a means of survival and to introduce a more sustainable/readily available source of meat. There is currently no butchery near the community. Meat is a staple in the traditional diet,  and with the threat of flooding and other natural disasters, livestock is often destroyed. Makupa was planning to stock additional groceries that can help ensure consistent food supply and support healthy nutrition for adults and especially school children. Makupa would use profits generated from sales at the grocer to fund his education program. This is only one of Makupa’s dreams to revive his community – for now, his dreams must rest on paper.

Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT)

CCFA partner, Tusk Trust, has brought to our attention the increase in gender-based violence as a result of stringent COVID-19 containment procedures. Women face a high risk of contagion due to lack of potable water needed for hygiene measures. Women carry the burden of water collection in rural settings, walking for long distances to fetch water. In these communities women are typically marginalised in decision making and have minimal access to information. They are left feeling helpless and unsure of what measures to take to protect themselves, both against the virus and abuse.

Lack of access to medical services and food insecurity is experienced by both males and females, but effects are intensified in the case of women, especially during pregnancy, childbirth and nursing.

Poor health, collapse in tourism, market closures, loss of employment, rising living costs, degradation of natural resources (by illegal grazing, wildlife poaching, charcoal burning), no access to education, loss of aid support, livelihood stress and social instability are all contributing to a collapse in community and a deathly threat to human life.

During this tumultuous time, staying connected with communities is critical. NRT is bringing together key conservancy personnel and county representatives on a weekly basis to ensure the situation is monitored closely, in order to understand the full impact of this human plight. This strategy has enabled more effective communication during this time of crisis.

We hope these insights into the current challenges facing CCFA supported projects has increased your awareness around the effects of COVID-19 beyond South Africa, and into less fortunate communities. If you would like to help provide opportunities to youth through our Siyazenzela course, educate a girl child in Zambia, support conservation efforts for cranes in Rwanda or gorillas in Uganda, please get in touch with us via email: info@ccfa.afria.

We wish you health and human connection, especially during a time when we are being called to remain physically distant – there is much we can still do to retain our humanity without risking contact, in the struggle against this humanitarian disaster.