THE HEINEKEN Africa Foundation is donating more than £1 million (€1.2 million) to WaterAid to support the international charity’s emergency response to COVID-19 in Nigeria, South Africa, Rwanda, and Mozambique.
The work will provide much-needed handwashing facilities in busy public spaces as well as water, sanitation and hygiene facilities in isolation centres, schools, and healthcare centres. Through the partnership, they will also roll out large-scale hygiene campaigns to help vulnerable communities protect themselves against COVID-19.
Together they hope to reach millions of people across the four countries with lifesaving hygiene education and handwashing facilities.
Handwashing with water and soap is the first line of defence against the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19, but millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa have nowhere to wash their hands at home. One in six healthcare centres globally does not have clean water and soap for handwashing, putting health workers and patients at considerable risk of infection.
The project includes providing more than 1,000 handwashing facilities to health care centres and other public places in Nigeria. In Rwanda, the partnership will consist of delivering soap and hand sanitiser to schools as lockdown measures ease in the country. The work will also include setting up 320 handwashing stations in health care facilities and marketplaces in Mozambique. In South Africa, work will involve handing out hygiene items such as period products, sanitiser, and soap to vulnerable communities and households.
The support of the HEINEKEN Africa Foundation will also help WaterAid deliver crucial hygiene education to marginalised communities, applying cultural-specific messaging to each location to ensure the most extensive number of people are reached. In Mozambique, for example, hygiene messaging will broadcast in local languages on community radio, which make up 75% of the country’s radio stations and play a central role in spreading good hygiene, especially in rural areas.
The partnership will run for six months in South Africa, Rwanda, and Mozambique and will last for seven months in Nigeria.
Suzanne Giele, HEINEKEN Africa Foundation Manager, said:
“Clean water, decent sanitation and hygiene are fundamental human rights but unfortunately vulnerable communities, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, do not have access to these basic essentials.
“Water, sanitation and hygiene have been on our agenda for many years already, and I am happy that we will scale up and accelerate our efforts in this field because handwashing with soap not only helps to protect against the spread of COVID-19 but also other infectious diseases. Together with WaterAid, I hope we can make a difference for communities during these very challenging times and after.”
Tim Wainwright, Chief Executive, WaterAid said:
“The need for clean water and hygiene has never been more pressing as we all battle to contain the spread of COVID-19. The support of the HEINEKEN Africa Foundation will provide crucial and timely support for our vital COVID-19 response work in four countries.
“In Sub-Saharan Africa, about three-quarters of people don’t have anywhere to wash their hands at home, making it easy for the virus to spread. Our teams are working to install handwashing facilities where they’re needed most, alongside crucial hygiene education to help people protect themselves against the spread of deadly diseases.”