Covid-19 Crisis Project
In 2020 Conexa partnered with Nature & Culture International to
respond to communities ravaged by Covid-19.
As an organization dedicated to empowering and sustaining communities, the nonprofit Nature and Culture International (NCI) faced an unprecedented challenge in their Latin American communities from the health and economic crisis caused by the outbreak of COVID-19. NCI empowers local, indigenous communities that live in some of the world’s most biologically diverse environments and endangered lands, such as the Amazon, to manage and caretake the place they call home, something they have done for hundreds of years. Economic challenges from industry and business creates a threat to these vital areas, especially from mining and de-forestation. Without thriving indigenous communities, locals are often forced to give up their lands to big business, leaving them unable to protect their environment. Many even have to leave, contributing to rising crisis of urban poverty. With the outbreak of coronavirus, economic issues became even more challenging. Along with the dramatic infection and death rates, these challenges created a critical situation, especially for the people of Peru.
In Spring of 2020, NCI approached Conexa with another critical issue: mental health. Many of their staff in Mexico, Ecuador, and especially in Peru had suffered the pains of massive anxiety, depression, and even grief from the loss of loved ones, the feelings of helplessness and quarantine isolation. Specifically in Peru, where the virus has had devastating effects, the staff of NCI was strained by the challenge of not only helping the people of their own communities, but helping their own family members.
The Covid-19 Crisis Project for Conexa, therefore, sought to respond to the mental health needs of these ravaged communities by first working with the staff of NCI in these critical locations. We collaborated to assess and explore the culture, resources, strengths and needs with the NCI staff and their communities to develop both short term intervention programs and long term solutions to increased relational and mental health. Headed into this response, we anticipated not only the anxiety and stress of the immediate situation, but also the long-term affects of trauma and grief that would inevitably plague people fighting for survival.
Conexa resourced local Spanish-speaking mental health professionals to host support and processing groups in Peru, Ecuador and Mexico. These groups were held online and worked to meet the needs of the leadership teams in those specific areas during the most critical times of quarantine and lockdown. In some cases, we processed grief from the passing of loved ones. In other cases, we processed the frustrations, anxieties and depression of quarantine, government and medical responses, separation from loved ones, and how to resource emotional support. In all cases we worked on the emotional process, cultural issues, and relational development in team members.
We believed this was and continues to be an integral piece in assisting NCI in serving their communities in recovery and completing their mission of environmental protection and care.
Conserving Biologically Diverse regions by sustaining and preserving the cultures that live in them.
Nature and Culture International employs a powerful conservation model the empowers local indigenous communities to care and protect their environmental homes.