» Forest Whitaker mobilizes his foundation, WPDI, to address the challenges of COVID-19
02.06.2020 - Honorary and Goodwill Ambassadors

Forest Whitaker mobilizes his foundation, WPDI, to address the challenges of COVID-19

UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation Forest Whitaker and the WPDI have mobilized their teams and network to address the challenges of the global health crisis


At a time when COVID-19 is putting the whole planet on alert, Forest Whitaker has continued working towards his ideals and objectives both as a UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace and Reconciliation and as Chair of WPDI (Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative), which has a presence in Mexico, South Africa, South Sudan and Uganda as well as the United States. The latter has notably endeavoured to keep its networks active and to mobilize its teams and in particular young volunteers in awareness-raising campaigns among local populations. In fact, it should be stressed that the territories where WPDI is active often lack access to reliable information due to geographical remoteness or lack of infrastructure. In these areas of intervention, WPDI is therefore often a resource to disseminate key messages, which it has been working on during this period.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis affecting their countries of intervention, the WPDI have put contingency plans in place for each of their field teams. These plans integrate the new constraints to ensure the continuity of their activities, as well as maximum protection for local teams, working closely and constantly with at-risk communities and vulnerable populations. WPDI have also mobilized and deployed their network of young “peacemakers” to help fight the spread of the virus and share key and specific data on COVID-19 based on information disseminated by WHO and UNESCO. Furthermore, since the global crisis has demonstrated the importance of educational continuity through online training, WPDI have been actively working to open its online courses via Google Classroom, and to undertake a revision of its curricula. In order to ensure the continuity of its activities and operations, WPDI have lead a campaign to mobilize resources to address the Covid-19 crisis, by strengthening and even extending its partnerships. This substantive work at the WPDI level was accompanied by Mr. Whitaker’s active participation in United Nations campaigns to ensure the dissemination of key messages on a global scale. As such, he stated; "The world is experiencing a health crisis of unprecedented magnitude. COVID-19 affects all of us, making it a responsibility for everyone to protect oneself and others.”


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