This week I nearly Furloughed myself. I work as an International Consultant. I am the only person on the payroll of my micro-enterprise. Happily, some evaluation work came in from the European Commission. The rates are low, but I am able to keep the company going for the time being.
Skyping with Associates around the World. My home office is busier than it has ever been; but not necessarily in a productive way. The doors revolve with people constantly wanting feeding. Normally it’s so peaceful here. Unlike most, when I am in the UK I am highly accustomed to working from home. My office is so much noisier than usual! There’s no bloody bandwidth. How dare work take priority over YouTube. Teenagers!
Most of the time I can manage the feelings of anxiety that suddenly well up, and then with some mindfulness subside again.
As a consultant on climate adaptation, blue economy, and environmental peace-building; what I worry about most is the loss of continuity on the work I have been doing with others. The impact of COVID19 on work that is already urgent, and my friends and colleagues in countries far more vulnerable than my own. I work a lot in SIDs. On Funafuti Atoll in Tuvalu, there is no longer soil, the land is so degraded. Nothing really can grow. Food security there is even more pressing than the impossible climate change decisions that lie ahead. Thankfully COVID free, I wonder whether any food is reaching remote Islands? Fiji Air looks to have suspended the twice weekly flight to Funafuti? The ferry there is unseaworthy.
I am also working currently in The Gambia. If our bid to the Green Climate Fund gets delayed by just one year, it will in places lose another 1m of Atlantic coast. This is particularly impacting WASH. In 2018, the Gambia’s HDI value for 2018 was 0.466 — positioning it at 174 out of 189 countries. A tiny country. Banjul, its capital is so densely populated and on the climate change front line. As of today, The Gambia has four reported cases of COVID19. I fear this is the tip of the iceberg.
Thinking about these challenges, makes me care less about whether or not to furlough myself. I will try to keep working.
Katherine Kennedy, Blue Consulting Ltd.