COVID-19 is a global health crisis, and it shows just how closely our economy and lifestyles are linked to the overall health of the planet. With over 150 million cases and over 3 million fatalities worldwide as of January 2021, the pandemic demonstrates the human and economic cost of our broken relationship with nature.
Across Southeast Asia, livelihoods have been impacted. Thousands of people who are directly dependent on the resources from the ecosystems around them are now vulnerable to the impacts of the pandemic. 
To help prevent future zoonotic outbreaks, we need to tackle the root causes.
The For Nature For Us: Community and Recovery Programme supports WWF’s efforts to address one of the root causes of pandemics and future-proof vulnerable communities, while providing building blocks for a more sustainable and resilient future. The programme has three key pillars: 
  • Addresses and stops illegal wildlife trade, one of the root causes of pandemics,
  • Future-proofs vulnerable communities by providing them access to clean water and provision for alternative livelihood through food shed enterprises,
  • Provides building blocks for a better future through education and outreach.
Starting February 2021, Cisco has taken up the mantle in supporting one of the key pillars of the programme: Future-proofing Communities in Southeast Asia Impacted by the Pandemic, Helping to Protect Their Food Security and Livelihoods in Sustainable and Resilient Ways.

Southeast Asia holds irreplaceable riches, ranging from unique wildlife in spectacular natural landscapes to communities with distinct cultural heritages such as those who live along the Mekong river and in the islands of the Philippines. The double threat of the pandemic and drought caused by climate change is pushing the lives of thousands of people living these places to dire circumstances: they face unemployment, impacted livelihoods and a lack of basic needs such as food and water.
The collaboration aims to see the following results:
  • The establishment of two water supply plants benefiting approximately 2,000 people in the Mekong Delta, Viet Nam — mostly local children and women. Through engagement in community education and the provision of a clean and affordable source of water to reduce pressure on local water resources, the project will increase the capacity of the local community to improve the value of environmental services within protected areas in the Mekong Delta.
  • The establishment of eight Food Sheds to supply over 200 families, comprising an estimated 1,200 residents in Dumaran, the Philippines, with fresh, nutritious, and sustainably-produced food. The foodshed also provides for environmental conservation solutions by optimising the use of fertiliser through closed nutrient cycles in agriculture, the reduction of pre and post-harvest waste, and effecting change in dietary patterns towards climate-friendly food choices.

A man crosses a dried up lake Kênh Lấp in Bến Tre Province, one of the largest bodies of freshwater in the Mekong Delta, Apr 2020. Source: Hoang Nam/ VnExpress

A dried up canal in Cà Mau Province, March 2020 Source: Khanh Tran/ Tuoi Tre Online

Two units of foodshed A foodshed is a compact, regenerative and climate-adaptive way of growing food (vegetables and poultry).

Growing upland spinach locally known as kangkong inside the foodshed. More food, less space and it;s pesticide free!

If you're interested in exploring a similar partnership with WWF, contact:

Mayj C. Tolentino 
Head of Corporate Partnerships and Engagement  
E-mail: mtolentino@wwf.sg