In mid-March, the project team cancelled all ongoing Senior Expert Contact assignments and organised the return of the experts. In view of flight cancellations and increasingly restrictive travel regulations, this was no easy task. It was possible to quickly rebook the flights of five experts in Nepal. They were all able to return home before the lockdown. In Guatemala, two experts got stuck for a while because the international airport was closed. Thanks to the cooperation with the Swiss and German embassies and the repatriation operation organised by the German government, these two experts were able to return home safely, too. "With a few setbacks and many uncertainties, it was nerve-wracking until we were sure that the two experts finally got a seat on one of the planes to Frankfurt," says programme manager Jane Achermann.
In the meantime, the experts are using this time to plan their upcoming assignments and contact their clients digitally. They can also get to know each other this way, allowing for a first exchange of experiences. There are also ideas for possibilities of how suitable follow-up assignments can be carried out alternatively through electronic media. The SEC team is currently working on creating and evaluating such scenarios.