At this point, COVID-19 has spread to every African country and it is now a race against time to halt its grip across the region. We are doing just that. Thanks to the generous support of our donors, till date, we have reached more than 8,000 people in remote rural communities of Ghana with handwashing facilities, trainings and bars of soap.
COVID-19 continues to march across Africa, with blazing new hotspots beginning to emerge. As the developed world struggles to meet its public health needs, we must not forget that hospitals in many African countries barely have enough ventilators to fill one room. Hence, prevention of an outbreak is better than its cure, particularly in the African context.
Recognizing our responsibility as a key player in the rural water space, we are at the frontlines, working tirelessly to ensure remote rural communities across Ghana are equipped to shield themselves against the virus. Since the onset of the pandemic, we have rolled out an aggressive handwashing campaign across rural Ghana targeting 12 communities, 2,000 households and 10,000 people.
Till date, we have successfully reached 8,000 of these individuals through facilities, trainings and soap distribution concluded on 8 and 12 May in Ekowso, Nkwanka, Otumi Asikem 1, Otumi Asikem 2 and Korle Newtown communities of rural Ghana. The remainder of our trainings to reach the last 2,000 people have been scheduled for 22 May in Tefle Kpodiwlor and Taikpitikorpe communities. Here is a glimpse of what our field activities look like, keeping in mind social distancing and gathering restrictions in the backdrop of COVID-19:
Following the government’s initiative to support Ghanaians during the fight against the Coronavirus, all citizens enjoy free water for three months. Project Maji applauds and is supporting this initiative, acknowledging that access to water – both for consumption and handwashing - can literally save lives in these unprecedented times. All Project Maji kiosk caretakers have therefore been instructed not to charge for water in the months of April, May and June.
In addition, while we are going all in to restrict a Coronavirus outbreak in rural Ghana, we continue to explore innovative solutions that deliver the best consumer experience with high impact at low-cost. The Veronica buckets are one such addition to the Project Maji Toolkit, a simple and effective, low-tech and efficient handwashing station:
The Coronavirus is far from over, particularly in Africa where WHO predicts it could “smoulder for many years to come”. But our work not only has to go on, it has to intensify. The right balance needs to be struck between raising hygiene awareness and ensuring the safety of our teams on the ground as well as the local communities.