Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 29 October 2020

Dubai campaign raises money for clean water in African communities

As the world marks Global Handwashing Day on October 15, millions are without soap and freshwater

Traders wash their hands with soap and water outside a retail market, amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease, in Nairobi, Kenya. Njeri Mwangi / Reuters
Traders wash their hands with soap and water outside a retail market, amid concerns about the spread of coronavirus disease, in Nairobi, Kenya. Njeri Mwangi / Reuters

A Dubai fund-raising campaign is encouraging Emiratis and residents to donate for giving people in rural communities access to soap and clean water.

The Responding Together water campaign will provide daily access to soap and fresh water, mask making skills and health training to communities in east and west Africa.

Even with the spread of Covid-19, millions of people do not have access to soap and fresh water.

The 90-day programme was launched by the Global NGO The Water Project as part of its Covid-19 strategy.

“Our Covid-19 response is something that we as an organisation have really been well prepared for, because this isn’t the first pandemic for us,” said Adam Torrey, director of regional support.

“On an operational standpoint, Covid-19 pushed us to increase the amount of front-line services that we were already providing. Early on, we decided to reduce the number of new infrastructure projects we would install until we saw what would happen to the funding. So we’re now just getting back to delivering the projects that we had planned before Covid-19.”

Organisers have raised half of the Dh50,000 goal and made a call to action on Global Handwashing Day, which falls on October 15.

“What we hope is that as the world is seeing that Covid-19 is going to be here for some time longer, people will recognise more efforts are needed for organisations like ours and governments,” said Mr Torrey.

“We know there is fatigue from hearing the same message over and over, but we really need to continue with hand washing, social distancing and wearing good masks.”

The NGO is historically most active in Sierra Leone, Uganda and Kenya and other countries in Africa, where it partners with local communities to design the most appropriate solutions to water provision, from well infrastructure to rainwater harvesting.

For this campaign, it will establish hand washing stations that provide access to water, soap and hygiene education, particularly in areas without internet access.

Face mask-making training will be organised, particularly in communities where it is not possible to buy masks.

The programme will also improve physical distancing at shared water points.

Water access points are monitored for at least five years to ensure they are reliable in the long term.

The NGO’s Dubai office co-ordinates regional programmes centred on water scarcity, as well as regional emergency work and work on local community projects, like the nature trail and spring water in Sharjah’s Wadi Shees.

It also helps develop regional partnerships, advocacy and awareness campaigns.

The campaign runs until mid-November. Donations can be made here.

Updated: October 15, 2020 10:14 PM

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