It doesn’t feel so long ago since the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Covid-19 a worldwide pandemic, but a lot has happened since 11th March.

As a consequence of the pandemic, Just a Drop reorganised to use our 20 years of experience in handwashing, hygiene education, safe water, and sanitation to build an emergency response programme across all our destination countries that would enable us to speedily respond, mitigate the spread of the virus and protect our vulnerable communities.

Uganda – An example of our Covid-19 Response Programme

Our work in Uganda targeted three health centres in the Wakiso district, Namayumba, Wakiso and Buwambo, which were forecast to be under immense pressure to meet increased demand as a result of Covid-19. Just a Drop had previously provided piped running water, rainwater harvesting tanks, built latrines with bathrooms, provided hygiene education and soap making training and materials at the health centres. We knew our Uganda communities had a fighting chance due to the previous work we had completed with them, but they needed more emergency support if they were to hope to cope with the volume of potential coronavirus patients - enter the Covid-19 response programme.

1. Arm our frontline workers with personal protective equipment (PPE)

In order to t protect our local partner and team working on the frontline we purchased vital PPE including masks, gloves and sanitiser to help curb the spread of the virus as they conducted their essential work within the communities.

2. Handwash, handwash, handwash!

Handwashing is crucial to stop the spread of Coronavirus, and it’s something we’ve been practising and teaching the importance of since 1998. It is now more important than ever as it clearly saves lives.

As a consequence, the team set up 30 hand washing facilities for each of the three health centres and the neighbouring communities. Each health centre received four handwashing facilities each, along with liquid soap materials. The handwashing facilities were strategically placed to ensure their most frequent and effective use. The remaining handwashing facilities were distributed throughout the neighbouring communities in areas of high risk.

The team also ramped-up soap making workshops at the health centres, with soap making materials provided by Just a Drop to ensure that the communities have enough soap to wash their hands - the first line of defence against the coronavirus.

3. Spread the word

Knowledge is power - the team distributed Information, Education, Communication (IEC) materials including posters and flyers with messaging from the Ministry of Health on what Covid-19 is, how it spreads, and how to prevent it. All IEC materials were distributed in both English and Luganda, the local language.

We also provided our team on the ground with a new motorcycle to increase the reach of the Covid-19 hygiene messaging and to update the communities on new information from the Ministry of Health. Megaphones with recorded Covid-19 messaging have also made a huge impact in educating the communities on handwashing, social distancing and promoting hygiene overall.

These Covid-19 preventative measures have reached many Ugandan villages to date – and we are not done yet!

Further Covid-19 Response work across our communities

In an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus in India and Nicaragua we have continued to provide our communities with safe, clean water as well as continuing handwashing training, the first line of defence against the coronavirus.

Likewise, in Zambia we have continued to bring safe water to our communities by providing two boreholes, bringing the total boreholes drilled the past year to eight. The safe water in conjunction with providing our Zambian communities with handwashing stations and soap supports the communities to curb the spread of Covid-19.

In Cambodia, we have supported the Covid-19 Response programme by providing essential PPE to our local partner.

In Kenya, we are contributing to the fight against Covid-19 by supporting our local partners to improve household sanitation and critical hand washing in the communities, through the provision of hygiene training based on the WHO and Ministry of Health guidelines, undertaking house to house visit to spread good hygiene messages and training for small groups whilst maintaining social distancing and supporting food security and livelihoods to small farmers by providing seeds and other farming inputs towards the timely planting of the short rains crop season reducing the risk of food insecurity.

Just a Drop provided essential PPE to our local partners in Cambodia