A message form Claudia Black

Dear Friends, 

Wherever you are, I hope you are healthy and safe. The situation we are living in today is unprecedented, putting our ability to adapt as well as our resilience to test. I am convinced that our societies will emerge stronger than ever from this trial that is bringing out our sense of solidarity. 

First, I would like to provide you with an update on the situation as far as CECI is concerned. Our COVID-19 monitoring committee is meeting daily to monitor the situation on a global scale and to identify proactive measures of  prevention and management we can adopt. As of last week, we have taken a series of measures to ensure the safety of our staff and volunteers and to contribute to the efforts to limit the spread of the virus while ensuring the continuity of our operations. Thanks to the proactivity of our teams, we were able to carry out a vast repatriation operation for our volunteers over the past few days. Almost all of them have now returned to the country and are expected to respect the isolation instructions in place. The vast majority of employees at our head office in Montreal are now working remotely, just like many others in our offices abroad. We have decided to suspend all new deployments of volunteers and all international travel for our employees until the end of May. Our teams are currently working to implement measures that will allow us to adapt to keep our operations running as well as possible, as these remain a priority. In addition, we are closely monitoring the rapidly evolving situation in the most fragile countries, and we are preparing for the possibility of an emergency humanitarian intervention.  

The situation has also forced us to review our calendar of Canadian activities for the coming weeks:
  • The Scotiabank Charity Challenge (scheduled for April 25 and 26) has been rescheduled for September 26 and 27. All participants in the race were informed of the new participation conditions by email. For any questions on this matter, please contact Ana Isabel Otero ( or 514 875-9911 ext. 335). 
  • The benefit event of the Club des ambassadrices (scheduled for May 7) will be postponed to a later date, yet to be determined. We will keep you informed as soon as a new date is confirmed. 

If you are currently in confinement at home, I invite you to take a little time to watch several video clips that we have recently produced. These will take you on a trip to Bolivia, Senegal, Nepal and several other countries of intervention of our Uniterra program. You will hear testimonials from women and youth whose living conditions have improved thanks to the support of the nearly 2,000 volunteers who have participated in the Uniterra program over the past five years. The Uniterra program is coming to an end on March 31 and I would like to highlight the exceptional contribution of each and every one of these volunteers, who generously shared their time, expertise and know-how, and who are true ambassadors of international solidarity! 

In such exceptional times, it is more important than ever to remain united in solidarity. Although the current situation brings its share of complexity, disrupting our activities and challenging our flexibility (just like yours), we keep in view our mission and the values that we stand for: cooperation, respect, fairness, commitment and integrity. 

Finally, we wish to acknowledge the exceptional efforts of all those who are on the front lines, dedicating themselves as we speak to help fight the spread of the virus everywhere on the planet. You are a model of inspiration for all of us!

Claudia Black
Executive Director

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