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19 March 2020

ICLEI Africa is agile and our virtual doors are open!

An open letter from our Regional Director, Kobie Brand

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The COVID-19 pandemic is placing huge strain on our communities, our governments, our healthcare systems and our economies. Especially during this time, many of our cities are grappling with immense health emergencies added to existing cumulative and unprecedented sustainability challenges. Building resilience will therefore be even more critical now. 

The ICLEI Africa office cannot afford to take our ‘foot off the pedal’, so to speak, and are committed to indeed ramp up our efforts to support our cities and regions in becoming more sustainable. ICLEI Africa is a highly innovative and agile organisation, well placed to quickly adapt and evolve in response to changing circumstances. We have swiftly put procedures in place to minimise disruptions to our work and commitments, and to protect and support our staff through this difficult time.

We operate over a large geographic area, both in Africa and globally, and have understandably had to cancel all domestic and international travel for the time being. However, given the nature of our work with cities and development partners, our staff are used to working remotely while travelling. We also have the necessary tools and know-how for working from home. This is due to our long-standing practice of working from home at least one day a week, our flexi-hour work policy, and the need for us to work across different time zones.

We already engage online using various virtual meeting platforms and we run regular webinars and online training, networking and capacity building initiatives. We have existing online platforms for city engagement, such as CitiesWithNature, and we will be enhancing these in the coming months. We are focusing on ramping up these service offerings and are producing new and additional learning video tools and related resources.

Our RISE Africa event has been reimagined to take a new form this year. Instead of hosting an international event in May 2020, RISE Africa will facilitate online showcases, popular articles and thematic webinars, each of which will lead up to and build momentum towards RISE Africa 2021 which is already confirmed for 24 to 26 May 2021.

We welcome all members, partners and other potential collaborators to reach to us so that we can continue this journey together of making Africa’s cities more resilient, safe, sustainable and accessible for all, while contributing to the SDGs and other global agreements related to climate change, disaster risk reduction, desertification and biodiversity.

Many of our cities are working tirelessly to maintain their services during this challenging time and we applaud the leadership and staff who are making this possible in a safe and efficient manner.

In this time of “work-from-home”, ICLEI Africa will not be hibernating, we will be transforming! Feel free to contact us for virtual meetings, ramped-up initiatives, and future plans and project updates. Stay updated on latest releases, project milestones, new developments and service offerings by visiting our website and following us on Twitter

Warm regards, and stay safe and healthy.

Kobie Brand 
Regional Director of ICLEI Africa
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