As a frontline responder with access to the most remote rural communities, Project Maji has responded quickly and efficiently to curb the spread of COVID-19. Till date, we have reached thousands of people with clean water, handwashing trainings and bars of soap. At present, we are rolling out the distribution of the Maji Buckets – our uniquely designed zero touch handwashing stations across rural communities in Ghana.
While working to ensure that proper handwashing is possible and promoted at the household level, we were confronted with the very real risk of contagion through the handwashing station itself. Hence, the introduction of the Maji Bucket – a zero-touch handwashing station. The invention was just the start. Next, we jumped on the bandwagon to become a #sweat4soap partner in celebration of Global Handwashing Day. The week-long activation motivated runners across the globe to log their miles for Maji Buckets. Every 100 km – 1 Maji Bucket.
Truth be told, we received an overwhelming response from the global running community. More than 68,000 kilometers were logged from registrants across 62 countries. Our partner Aqua for All initially agreed to fund 150 Buckets (15,000km), but having witnessed the success of the campaign, they increased the number to 375 Buckets. Project Maji matched another 75 stations (45,000km), and a total of 450 Maji Buckets were set to be produced and distributed amongst remote rural communities.
Maji Bucket Production
For us, the goal remained that everyone should win in this project. So, we tapped into the potential of the workforce of Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations. With the help of our guest colleagues from (GFD) we have now concluded the production of 350 buckets. Here is a snapshot of our exciting collaboration:
Contrary to the perception that welcoming PWDs into the workforce is expensive and counterproductive, our Project Manager, Ama Wilson, shares her experience in light of this unique collaboration: “The PWDs working on the Maji Bucket project have been highly motivated and skilled for the job. It has been a pleasure to assemble so many Maji Buckets in such a short time, without compromising the quality of course.”
Likewise, our temporary colleagues also expressed gratitude for this opportunity to contribute to the production of a life-saving tool, as well as, supplementing their income through it: “We don’t want sympathy. We want an impact on persons with disabilities to reduce unemployment, sickness, and disease among PWD. Project Maji, we thank you, we are very grateful.”
Maji Bucket Distribution and WASH Trainings
The project is now in its final stages as our teams on the ground have distributed the first batch of 100 buckets across Maji communities. Five buckets and 10 bars of soap have been allocated for each community and the handwashing stations have successfully been installed in 20 communities located across Kade, Assin North and Akosombo districts, among others. The Maji Bucket distribution has been supplemented by handwashing trainings that shed light on the proper use of Maji Buckets for handwashing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
During the distribution roll out in Konaboe Community, we asked a community elder if he thinks the bucket is a useful tool for virus protection for the community, and this is what he had to say: "The Maji bucket is definitely better because you don’t have to touch the tap to use it. It’s good because otherwise, someone else will come and touch the same tap after washing their hands. We were also told that majority of the virus is transferred through our hands. So how would you see what you are picking up. Using the foot operated bucket is better. This one will protect us better from the virus." - Daniel Acquah, 62 - community elder
The designated caretakers in each of these communities have also been trained on the sustainable management of the Maji Buckets (cleaning and filling them timely.) Here is a glimpse of the Maji Bucket Distribution Phase:
See more photos of the Production and Distribution of the Maji Bucket.
Delivering our COVID-19 response has been far from a linear process. We recognize the need to constantly rethink, reinvent and reinvigorate the preventive tools we are offering. Our response must not only be immediate, but it must also be sustainable, keeping the needs of our communities at heart. The Maji bucket is a testament to that, an easily replicable tool even for the most marginalized, yet, integral for virus prevention amongst remote rural communities. Early 2021, we will continue our efforts with the distribution of 300 Maji Buckets in the Volta delta in Ghana.
Watch the video below for the complete Maji Bucket Story: