We're deploying our water, handwashing and hygiene expertise to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in more than 30 countries. Our work has never been more relevant or more urgent.
We're committed to keeping you updated on the programs that are only made possible by your ongoing support.
What is WaterAid doing to help reduce the spread of COVID-19?
We're urgently refocusing our support to help people in the communities where we work to stay safe and reduce the spread of COVID-19:
- WaterAid is creating COVID-19 specific responses by providing national communications, information, materials and training on water, sanitation and hygiene to frontline health workers and health posts in rural areas.
- We are providing education to locals about low-cost solutions for handwashing infrastructure, such as tippy taps.
- We are providing information on how to make soap from locally available materials to enable handwashing with soap and water.
- WaterAid is conducting direct community outreach and visiting rural communities to spread the World Health Organization and National Department of Health awareness messaging to prepare locals for COVID-19.
See some of the work we're doing across our country program
WaterAid Bangladesh is aiming to reach close to 10 million people with their hygiene promotion activities. They are encouraging handwashing using social media campaigns, awareness videos and hanging banners in schools and hospitals. The campaign called ‘Fight Corona’ will reach over two million people online and, by collaborating with top radio, the campaign will reach another one million people.
Furthermore, they are providing free handwashing devices that will reach 100,000 people in public areas such as bus stops, railway stations, markets and shopping malls. WaterAid Bangladesh has developed a list of technological options for handwashing stations based on geographical context, space, accessibility and costing of materials.
WaterAid Bangladesh has now published a new booklet aimed at NGOs operating in rural areas outlining instructions for building low-cost water and handwashing stations in villages. By increasing the number of handwashing stations, communities in Bangladesh will be better able to keep sanitized and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
WaterAid Burkina Faso is in discussions with local partners to develop an emergency package for handwashing in healthcare facilities and public spaces. They have developed and disseminated key messages that encourage handwashing and are using local media and radio adverts to encourage positive hygiene behaviors and to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
WaterAid Burkina Faso also supplied 156 handwashing devices and 312 balls of soap to school WASH projects in the provinces of Boulgou and Kourittenga. Thirty-one primary schools and eight post-primary schools were each provided with at least four handwashing devices and eight soap balls. This donation is part of WaterAid Burkina Faso’s fight against COVID-19 and part of the preparatory measures undertaken by the government for the resumption of classes. Handwashing devices and soap will help improve hygiene conditions in these schools and allow students and teachers to confidently carry on studies and teaching in the coming days.
In Cambodia, 29% of the population does not have access to a handwashing facility with soap and water. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the WaterAid Cambodia team in Kampong Chhnang has been supporting the provincial and district governments in spreading hygiene awareness messages to some of the rural communities in Chul Kiri district.
This effort has been led by WaterAid and the Provincial Department of Rural Development, who is responsible for community health, sanitation and hygiene. WaterAid is supplying campaign materials and the finances to hire vehicles with loudspeakers. It builds on their support to the provincial and district water, sanitation and hygiene coordination working groups.
In Colombia, where more than four million people live in poverty and lack access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene, WaterAid’s work has taken on renewed urgency in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are installing public handwashing stations, prioritizing support for already vulnerable Indigenous communities and developing hygiene communications campaigns to reach rural communities in their native languages.
With over 60 million people in Ethiopia lacking clean water close to home, COVID-19 could have severe impacts. To prepare for an influx of cases, the WaterAid team in Ethiopia is working with the Ministry of Health to develop an emergency response.
Additionally, they have already distributed 50 water tanks with 5,000-liter capacity, 2,500 liters of alcohol and more than 1,000 bars of laundry soap to health centers and temporary COVID-19 treatment sites in Addis Ababa, the country's capital city.
WaterAid Ethiopia has also been creating posters and videos about the importance of handwashing and other good hygiene behaviors. They also recently released a video outline the consequences of COVID19 to increase safe behaviors. Check it out on their Facebook page.
With support from ABInBEV (Eswatini Beverages), WaterAid Eswatini provided five group hand-washing stations in rural areas as well as hygiene supplies for market vendors. This project involved cooperation with the National Disaster Management Agency, members of Parliament, Community leaders and ABInBEV representatives.
A rural population of about 150,000 people will use these facilities and the Local Governments (Tinkhundla) and community leaders have committed to maintaining the facilities for sustained handwashing practice after the COVID-19 pandemic is resolved.
WaterAid Ghana has been utilizing radio and social media to highlight and answer frequently asked questions about the coronavirus. They also give tips on self-protection and have created videos and images to promote handwashing. This includes the ‘I Stand for Clean Hands Campaign’, which encourages good hygiene.
Since March, when Ghana confirmed two cases of COVID-19, WaterAid Ghana has been working with the government and Ghana Health Services to provide hygiene materials and other personal protective equipment to the Bongo and Kassena Nankana West Districts to help fight against COVID-19. WaterAid Ghana hopes this will protect doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers in the Bongo and Kassena Nankana West District as they care for patients suffering from the virus. The resources include 30 hygiene bucket sets comprising of 100-liter buckets with waste bins, tissue and soap; non-contact thermometers; two boxes of masks; 350 5-liter gallons of liquid soap; and 350 bottles of 250ml liquid soap.
Handwashing is a key defence against coronavirus, but 94 million Indians still live without a source of clean water. WaterAid is ensuring that communities have the resources they need to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
WaterAid India is running campaigns promoting good hygiene practices that will help in the fight against COVID-19. The campaigns use digital images/posters, audio messages and video in six Indian languages and English. They are being disseminated through text messages, WhatsApp, community radio, local TV channels and loudspeakers in the community.
As part of efforts leading to the re-opening of the Roberts International Airport (RIA), WaterAid Liberia and the National Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Commission have constructed ten handwashing stations as part of the Government of Liberia's efforts to combat coronavirus in the country.
The ten handwashing stations are strategically placed at the airport to enable passengers to hand-wash before departure, after arrival and to encourage staff to maintain good hand hygiene.
WaterAid Liberia is anticipating working with the government to ensure that similar facilities are constructed in schools to create a safe environment for students when they resume classes.
Due to the remote communities and villages in Madagascar, two WaterAid staff members conducted a road trip to ensure that as many people as possible know about the virus and are informed about the best methods of prevention.
When asked why it was so important, Liva, the driver, responded:
"There are so many people here in Madagascar who don’t know what it is, how it spreads, how to avoid it and many people don’t even have soap or something to wash their hands. I am motivated by my humanitarian spirit, patriotism and will do what I can to help people to protect themselves from the virus. So, let’s do it buddy, to keep everyone safe from coronavirus.
As the scale of this pandemic becomes clear, our team in Madagascar has taken additional steps. Taking advantage of the empty schools that are closed because of the virus, we have been working to disinfect the schools so they can be used as temporary shelters for the homeless population. Some team members are donating some of their hygiene supplies to equip these temporary shelters.
The WaterAid Malawi team is currently working closely with the government to create COVID-19 related messaging for public health materials, jingles for radio and phone ringtones. Also, the local team is working to provide handwashing facilities and other supplies in hospitals.
The messaging campaign is focusing on ‘how men play their part in collecting water in times of crisis’. This will not only improve the local response to the current crisis but create long-term benefits. Additionally, using an innovative approach to ensure everyone is well protected against COVID-19, WaterAid Malawi has come up with an intervention where no one has to touch the sanitation or water facilities in order to access them.
In Mali, we're working to support local health authorities to combat the COVID-19 outbreak and keep the residents safe in the District of Bla.
WaterAid Mali has donated handwashing stations, liquid soap, surgical masks, hand sanitizer, garbage cans and gloves intended for 30 community health care facilities.
WaterAid is working to strengthen the capacity of Health Districts and help contain the spread of COVID-19 among both health workers and patients of health care facilities.
A Mobile Car Campaign that will target residents of 43 municipal districts of Maputo spreading educational messages and raising awareness about the importance of prevention of COVID-19 was launched by WaterAid Mozambique, with the strategic partners: Municipality of Maputo City and the Ministry of Health of Mozambique. There is a giant billboard on the car with messages about proper handwashing procedure on one side and strategies to prevent the spread of the virus on the other. The mobile car also has a megaphone through which audios containing important information on the prevention of the pandemic are being broadcast.
WaterAid Myanmar is using social media and other promotional methods using visual illustrations (posters) to reach 400,000 people in densely populated villages with messaging about critical hygiene practices.
The local team is using social media to post videos, images and messages which are culturally conscious to engage with around four million people. By working with the Government, corporate houses and other CSOs, WaterAid Myanmar hopes to reach a large portion of the population through videos, TV discussions, awareness information and handwashing posters.
WaterAid Nepal has been creating and distributing flyers and posters in many local languages, with information on how to practice good hygiene. Their hygiene promotion campaign has also included COVID-19 information on posters across 70 bus routes, in public toilets and health care facilities.
WaterAid Nepal has also supplied 50 contactless handwashing stations inside Kathmandu Valley and 25 in Lahan Municipality, Siraha district. The goal is to enable safe access to handwashing stations in all essential areas.
In Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Americas, WaterAid’s work has taken on renewed urgency in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The government has taken a limited response to the pandemic, putting the population at extreme risk.
WaterAid is working in Nicaragua to install handwashing stations in public places like clinics, stations and markets, prioritizing already vulnerable Indigenous populations. We are also reaching people in urban and rural areas with key hygiene messages in their native language.
WaterAid Pakistan is working with WHO, UNICEF and the Government to accelerate action and help improve hygiene facilities in key locations. Some of their urgent work includes providing handwashing facilities, hygiene essentials like soap, gloves, surgical masks and menstrual hygiene kits across the country.
The local team is also creating a nationwide call to action for cleaning hands with soap at critical times, additionally alerting people to be more careful, self-responsible and be responsible towards others. This includes developing and disseminating frequent messages related to hygiene behaviour across media and social media platforms in two main categories: information and prevention.
Papua New Guinea
To respond to COVID-19 in PNG, WaterAid is implementing a major national hygiene and COVID-19 awareness campaign. This national campaign will run on billboards, print advertising, radio, television and social media to promote hygiene and COVID-19 awareness.
The team is also providing information on how to make soap from locally available materials, to enable handwashing with soap and water and provide and educate locals with low-cost solutions for handwashing infrastructure, such as tippy-taps.
WaterAid is conducting direct community outreach. Our staff have been visiting rural communities to spread World Health Organization and National Department of Health awareness messaging to prepare locals for COVID-19. WaterAid has been working to dispel any myths related to COVID-19 and provide facts and information on the pandemic, to ensure preparedness.
WaterAid Papua New Guinea has also been running COVID-19 related hygiene education campaigns in schools and local communities. These campaigns will help prevent the spread of the virus, making it easier for schools and businesses to return to regular activities. They will also have beneficial long-term effects on the general hygiene and health of communities in Papua New Guinea, even after the virus is gone.
WaterAid has been supporting radio stars and engaged youths in Rwanda to produce a series of radio dramas to share messages about handwashing and hygiene. By tapping into the influence of these stars we can reach a large audience with a critical message which will help in the fight against COVID-19. Broadcast on Radio Ishingiro, the plays reach four million listeners, a third of the population of Rwanda.
One of the youths involved in the project said: "I taught my mother how to be hygienic and showed her that if you don't wash your hands, you are going to catch diseases… The dramas really are changing lives and that makes me feel important and really happy."
In Senegal, we continue to ensure that community members can access clean water and practice proper handwashing. WaterAid West Africa has provided handwashing stations and hygiene products to the town hall of Dakar to distribute throughout the city as part of their COVID-19 preventive measures. ⠀
The next step for the team is to support hospitals and health centers with hygiene supplies to ensure they are fully equipped and prepared to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With limited public health infrastructure, slowing the spread of COVID-19 has been critical to protecting Sierra Leone’s population of nearly 8 million. In late March, Sierra Leone confirmed the first case in-country, put in place a temporary lockdown, and began a COVID-19 response.
WaterAid Sierra Leone are in the field distributing handwashing stations, soap and hygiene materials to Health Care facilities in our program areas to help control the spread of COVID-19.
WaterAid South Africa is engaging with the Department of Health and the Department for Water and Sanitation on COVID-19 responses. They are also currently using social media and circulating story images in local languages on how to ‘Be a hero and make tippy taps around your town’.
WaterAid Tanzania has been working closely with the Tanzanian Government to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 through the National Sanitation Campaign, Nyumba Ni Choo, promoting the importance of hygiene behaviors, such as handwashing with soap. The campaign has used radio, television, social media and mobile loudspeakers as a way to reach communities with hygiene messages.
WaterAid Tanzania and The University of Dar es Salaam have also installed seven new handwashing facilities at bus stations across Dar es Salaam. These handwashing facilities are contactless, allowing users to turn on the tap with their foot, preventing the hands from coming into contact with any surfaces.
Only 28% of people in Timor-Leste have access to handwashing facilities with soap and water. In response to COVID-19, WaterAid Timor-Leste is shifting its work to focus on responses to the pandemic.
WaterAid Timor-Leste is assisting the Ministry of Health in their response to health and hygiene promotion activity to COVID-19. The team is also actively sharing WHO messaging on hygiene and preparedness. WaterAid is also creating COVID-19 specific responses by providing information, materials and training on water, sanitation and hygiene to frontline health workers and health posts in rural areas.
The team is also joining the COVID-19 Risk Communication & Community Engagement Group at the national level under the Ministry of Health to provide hygiene expertise and support the adaptation of COVID-19 awareness materials to be inclusive, appropriate and equitable.⠀
With 21 million people in Uganda lacking clean water, our work to support the Government to improve vital services has taken on new urgency as COVID-19 spreads.
In the photo below, WaterAid Uganda Country Director Jane Mselle Sembuche and Samuel Sserunkuma, Deputy Executive Director of the Kampala Capital City Authority, demonstrate how a handwashing tank works. WaterAid provided the city with more than 60 handwashing stations in public places. These 150-liter tanks are fitted with water-efficient taps and foot operated valves to minimize contamination.
WaterAid Zambia is working with the Ministry of Health on preparing for both prevention and response in the event of an increase in cases of COVID-19.
The WaterAid team has been providing materials to encourage good hygiene practices, developing social distancing stickers for use in supermarkets, banks and other public places and providing several hands-free handwashing stations, soap, disinfectants and personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks.
WaterAid Zambia has also launched a universal handwashing station to cater for people with disabilities, particularly wheelchair users and those unable to use the foot-operated handwashing stations.