COVID-19 Challenges: Crafting the new garden at AHEAD’s Head Office

AHEAD resumed with its activities after the 2nd lockdown in the country only in May 2021. Mauritius, like any other country in the world, equally faced the challenges of COVID-19 and the government imposed a national lockdown from 10 March 2021 to 30 April 2021. This unexpected and exceptional situation had an adverse impact on all the activities of AHEAD.

AHEAD’s 1st Challenge: Mobility during lockdown was not possible. AHEAD applied and did not obtain a ‘Work Access Permit’ (WAP) for its staff and volunteers including its Board Members. AHEAD’s office being closed and inaccessible had dramatic consequences whereby AHEAD’s garden and the kidney beans plantations and other greens were completely destroyed. A complete disaster!

AHEAD’s 2nd Challenge: AHEAD made a serious financial loss in terms of revenue as it could not continue to nurture its garden and green space during lockdown. Harvest was completely missed and the crop was totally destroyed. Being a not for profit volunteer organisation AHEAD’s first investments were totally devastated.

AHEAD’s 3rd Challenge: The garden was part of a project financed by the National Social Inclusion Foundation (NSIF) under the small grants call for proposal; the Cultivation part – of the 3C’s Project. The project was seriously also delayed due to COVID-19. AHEAD could not follow up with its beneficiaries and the project had quasi-halted. On the one hand follow-up on an ongoing project was made impossible due to national lockdown and absence of WAP and on the other hand, wild herbs and shrubs had completely invaded the cultivation area and the whole yard. All the efforts to cleaning and maintaining the green pace was trashed.

AHEAD’s 4th Challenge: During lockdown and in times of project delay owing to COVID-19, AHEAD did not get any financial assistance from NSIF or from any donor. And in such a situation it was very difficult to maintain the employment of staff. But AHEAD faced the challenge and maintained the employment thanks to the financial support of its President Suraj Ray. NSIF provided no financial support.

AHEAD’s 5th and last Challenge: Starting anew is a big challenge as capital investment come into play. No donor organisation including NSIF did proposed any accompanying programme. Starting everything demands incredible amount of energy, financing and resources. So well, AHEAD is now gradually resuming with its activities… and one first such activity is crafting a new green space.