2020 was a year of enormous challenges for everyone; a year of sorrow, of fear, and of restrictions – no travel, no school, real economic pain, and reduced access to healthcare as well as an immense strain placed on health systems. Many of the limitations the developed world faced are habitual challenges in rural Africa. But their challenges have been further exacerbated by Covid-19.
The pandemic of course has taken a toll on communities with whom we work and although real numbers are difficult to collect, the relatively young age of the Zambian population seems to have mitigated some of the severe impacts of the disease. However, collateral effects that may not be appreciated at a first glance, have had a major detrimental impact on these rural communities. The severe travel restrictions imposed around the world have caused the travel industry in the area to basically grind to a halt and it is by far the largest employer in the region.
No income for the hotels and lodges has also meant that the region’s critical financial support for the local charitable projects also dried up.
Things are not improving. As governments and individuals in the West have turned their attention inwards to save money and support their own economies, charitable donations have become scarce. Many worthy projects have ceased to function, and a great number of smaller charities have closed their doors for good.
Now, more than ever, that our projects are most needed. Training, access to water, food, and education are critical, as is convincing the local population that animal conservation is vital even if no visitors are around.
Each of our projects has suffered but all have survived and that, in no small part, is thanks to all of our donors, who despite their own problems and worries have remained steadfast in their help. It is also due to our volunteers, who in the face of major challenges in organizing events, reaching out to donors, and crafting products for sale, have risen to those challenges with innovation, strength, and good humor.
Thank you one and all for being and remaining part of our project. Despite the challenges, each of our individual projects has been able to advance. More than ever your commitment is truly lifesaving and life-changing.
Founder, Livingstone Foundation
About the Foundation:
Founded in 2014 by Neil Collen and his wife Marie Gillett, the organization partners with local NGO, Project Luangwa, to positively impact the Luangwa Valley via a variety of initiatives that span childhood development and education, healthcare, and access to clean water.