COVID-19 has hit the world with a force that has upturned lives and devastatingly, is continuing to claim lives. This invisible killer has hit the entire globe, first with Asia, Europe, the USA and now Africa.
The communities across the countries we operate in are highly vulnerable and susceptible to the virus given the large number of people living in poverty and close proximity, making social distancing difficult. Not to mention due to their rural, remote locations, they have limited access to adequate medical facilities, safety equipment and the most up-to-date information on the necessary precautions to be taking in everyday life.
The outbreak highlights the importance of safe water provision and raising community awareness and engagement of good hand-washing practices. It is a time when vulnerable communities need safe water to facilitate effective hand-washing practices to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. In light of this, CO2balance are working closely with our in-country project partners to devise and implement precautionary measures in line with government’s advise to ensure project activities can continue where safe.
This has involved reducing the number of staff visiting communities in a single trip, ensuring strict social distancing is maintained both in the office and on field trips to safeguard staff and communities and the provision of appropriate protective equipment. As well as thoroughly briefing staff, external contractors (such as borehole technicians and WASH professionals) and communities on the measures in place to ensure they are adhered to.
Lockdown is near impossible for households who live day-to-day without financial security. Therefore, access to safe water for hand-washing and following good WASH* practices is more important than ever. Where safe to do so, we are continuing to rehabilitate boreholes in disrepair in remote communities and conduct WASH trainings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout vulnerable communities.
For more information on the importance of WASH practices in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19, WHO provides some informative reading at https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/en/.