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
Sal Island has, as by 28th of April, no COVID-19 cases detected. Most of the confirmed cases are in Boa Vista, all related to an outbreak in a hotel, and in several communities of Santiago.
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.
From April 27, the only islands to remain in quarantine are Boa Vista, Santiago and São Vicente. The state of emergency is lifted now in the rest of the islands, including Sal.
As per April 27, all flights between Cabo Verde and countries with COVID-19 outbreak are still banned. This includes the flights from EU, EUA, Brasil, Senegal and Nigeria.
With the end of the state of emergency for some islands, the Government declared that the lifting of the banning on international flights will depend on the international situation of COVID-19.
On the 18th of March, the Government declared the contingency state, mobilising emergency funds and personnel, and restricting public activities and gatherings.
All beaches in the country are closed and sports and leisure activities are banned.
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 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:
We are still going ahead planning the 2020 nesting season volunteering programme. We are following the development of the crisis worldwide and will be making further decisions as the season gets closer. Keep reading for more information on the volunteering programmes.
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
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.