COVID-19: Support for local communities
In response to the global outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the Project, in partnership with local health authorities, has initiated an awareness and prevention campaign aimed at combating the spread of the novel virus and safeguarding the lives of Afungi and Palma-based communities. A range of complementary activities are being rolled out as part of the campaign.
Project-sponsored WASH teams have been performing activities in Palma-Sede and Afungi since 2018. As the spread of the virus became known, WASH teams received focused training to intensify their work on hygiene promotion activities and practices. The training followed the universally accepted COVID-19 prevention measures, which include the smallest possible number of people attending meetings, social distancing, frequent hand washing, avoiding crowded places and the compulsory wearing of masks. WASH promotion activities continue on a daily basis with enthusiastic participation by communities.
A radio awareness campaign was launched on Palma Community Radio at the beginning of April 2020. Themes addressed in the various episodes emphasize the importance of hand washing, when and how to wash hands; tips on COVID-19 prevention measures; and promoting the installation of “tippy-taps” at homes.
Tippy-taps are homemade washing devices that are particularly relevant for the Palma-Afungi environment as these can be made at home at a low cost, consume little water, and are effective in promoting hand washing without the need to touch any surface. These are also contextually appropriate as they promote the use of ash for families that do not have soap.
Trained community activists and promoters are carrying out house visits in their resident communities in promoting good hygiene and sanitation practices, including the use of tippy-taps. This program reached close to 1 000 people during March and April 2020, of which 314 were women and 440 children. A total of 77 tippy-taps were installed in Palma-Sede and Afungi communities during this period.
Posters providing information and educating residents on prevention measures were produced in Portuguese and Kiswahili. These were posted in places that many people frequent and at public institutions.
locally produced facemasks
Three local tailors from Quitunda and Palma-Sede were engaged to produce facemasks. A thousand masks have been produced already.
A further thousand re-usable, washable three-layered fabric masks have been procured and are being distributed to key community members including community facilitators, community resettlement committees, legal entities, community leaderships and vulnerable people.