Updates on COVID-19
Health and safety are our priority.
The global outbreak of COVID-19 has brought unpredictable circumstances. As a multicultural organisation, we are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our staff, collaborators and communities we are part of.
As we adjust to these changes, we are doing everything we can to keep our staff and communities safe while continuing to carry out our mission.
For updates on our programs, volunteering and on the current situation in Cabo Verde as it related to COVID-19, read more below.
COVID-19 in Cabo Verde
On the 01 of August, Sal Island has 53 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Confinement is finished, but social distancing measures are in place and all confirmed positives are under quarantine.
Here you will find the official measures currently in place in Cabo Verde such as travel restrictions, closures and social distancing measures. The information comes from the Government of Cabo Verde and/or from competent authorities.
As per June 24, there are no islands in quarantine. The state of emergency is lifted now in the rest of the islands, including Sal, but social distancing measures are still in place.
Starting on 1st of August, 4 weekly flights are schedule between Lisbon and Cabo Verde, to the islands of Praia and São Vicente. The flights are not for tourism, but for special situations such as work, studies and others. The rest of the flights are supposed to resume on September.
The connection between islands is guaranteed, with 4 weekly flights from Praia to Sal and 2 from São Vicente.
All beaches in the country are closed after 18:00h. However, Projeto Biodiverisdade has the permit to continue with the night patrols.
For more information on this news, visit the website from the Government of Cabo Verde as well as its official Facebook profile. You can also follow the news on the national television of Cabo Verde (Radiotelevisão de Cabo Verde) and the Maritime and Ports Authority.
The Cabo Verde Government has a live counter of reported cases in the country.
The Government has created a hotline (called "Linha Verde") for any situation related to COVID-19. If you have symptoms, came from a country with COVID-19 cases or have been in contact with an infected person, you must call the following number:
The nesting season is at its best now, and we are registering a record number of nests. With 6 hatcheries in place and thousands of nests to protect, we are looking for volunteers to help on their monitoring.
Given the current situation with the crisis of the epidemic of COVID-19, we have decided to adapt our policy regarding our international volunteering programmes. We understand that the duration of this world crisis is unknown, and nobody can predict what the development may be. This is why we have made the following amendments to our current policies:
Zero-cost cancellation policy. When the reason for cancellation is based on official recommendations and/or due to the impossibility of travelling as a result of bans or/and closure of borders.
No booking fees. The total fees will be requested 3 weeks before the start of the participation of each volunteer. We believe this is time enough in advance to decide if the volunteering programme will take place.
100% reimbursement of the fees for those who have already paid, in case that the programme is cancelled. This will be assessed and decided 3 weeks before the participation of the volunteer. The cancellation for reasons different from the ones mentioned in the first point will follow normal cancellation fees.
The strong recommendation of booking flight with cancellation option when possible. Some volunteers may prefer to book the flight early to avoid high fares. In this case, we recommend they do that with the cancellation insurance in case the programme is cancelled.
These new policies are adopted in an extraordinary situation and will revert back to normal once the international situation has allowed. With this policy, we want to ensure and transmit our confidence that, aside from the global situation, our volunteer programmes are still open and planning to continue as normally as possible, welcoming volunteers as the situation allows.
We are assessing all the activities of each programme and adapting them to the current situation on Sal Island. Our decisions will follow official recommendations and restrictions from the Cabo Verde government, the local authorities of Sal and the recommendations from WHO.
Our office will remain closed to visitors and will only be used by staff.
Fieldwork activities resumed after the state of emergency was lifted in Sal Island. Fieldwork does not entail contact with communities or other groups of people, and the field team are normally of 2-4 people. This is why we believe it does not pose any threat to our staff or to the communities.
Public activities are cancelled. Activities like beach cleanings or public presentations will be delayed until the official restrictions are lifted and/or the situation allows.
Educational and Awareness programme activities are also cancelled.
Other activities that do not require public gatherings and close contact with other people will be assessed specifically. This may include one-to-one meetings, visits to the communities and others. In all cases, we will follow the official guidelines and recommendations to avoid possible infections. Masks will be used in those cases.
The current world crisis may have a severe impact on our capacity and, consequently, on our Sea Turtle Conservation Campaign. As the crisis develops, we are assessing its impacts on our NGO in terms of funding and logistical capacity, as well as on the turtle campaign strategy, considering all possible socioeconomic impacts on the local population.
Impacts on Funding
We predict that we will not be able to fundraise 39% of the total budget.
As much as 39% of our annual budget is related, directly or indirectly, to the tourism industry in Sal Island. These funds come from the contributions of international volunteers, personal donations from visitors, support from hotels, companies donating part of their profits made from turtle watching excursions and government funds.
This prediction is based on the worst-case scenario, where borders remain closed until summer, the tourism industry is not reactivated and thousands of jobs are lost. The sooner this crisis ends, the smaller the impacts will be.
To minimise the impact, we are rethinking our strategy, halting the purchase of new equipment and seeking new funding sources.
Impacts on Turtle Season
Update! Thanks to an emergency fund granted by PRCM and the MAVA Foundation, we have been able to employ 47 local guards that will patrol the nesting beaches. As a consequence, we are able to mantain the level of protection of the nesting beaches.
As a result of the potential lack of support mentioned above, the resulting necessary reduction of staff (international volunteers) will be among the worst impacts. Near half of our field team are international volunteers and internships (Field Assistants). On top of the many positive inputs, we also rely on them as the Project can't employ the same amount of local field assistants.
COVID-19 outbreak is provoking already a socioeconomic crisis worldwide. If this crisis extends until the nesting season, the pressure on the nesting turtles may increase dramatically.
To minimise these impacts, we are working hard to develop new strategies to patrol the nesting beaches and identifying alternative initiatives that will support the worst affected communities and help alleviate the impacts of the crisis.