As the international community prepares to mark Global Handwashing Day on 15 October 2020, the HEINEKEN Africa Foundation has lent a shot-in-the arm to the international charity WaterAid in its drive to tackle the spread of Covid19 and other diseases.
South Africa has the highest number of Covid19 infections and deaths in Africa, and the Government has prioritised public access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), especially among communities in densely populated informal settlements and rural areas.
The HEINEKEN Africa Foundation through its operations in South Africa is supporting WaterAid’s emergency response to the pandemic with a donation of over €200,000 or R4million, towards a project that will help vulnerable communities protect themselves against the spread of diseases. The funds are part of the Foundation’s generous €1.5 million donation to support WaterAid’s work in vulnerable communities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Along with South Africa – where the work will last six months – the Foundation will support WaterAid’s work in Nigeria, Rwanda, and Mozambique.
In Gauteng, a collaborative partnership with the National Department of Water and Sanitation, the City of Johannesburg, and Joburg Water will help secure 20 public handwashing facilities in disadvantaged communities such as Zandspruit, Kliptown and Kya Sands. Much-needed hygiene items including sanitary pads, sanitizers, and soap will also be provided to vulnerable women and girls in centers as part of the collaboration with Government departments and the United Nations.
In total, the project will benefit approximately 28,000 people with access to clean water to help them practice good hygiene. These include communities in Thulamela and Makhado Municipalities in Vhembe District, and women and children at a Roman Catholic managed Refugee camp in Musina where 12 handwashing facilities and 12 water storage tanks will be installed. WaterAid’s local partners, Tsogang, will manage the project in Vhembe.
Many people in these communities rely on household agriculture and will benefit from a sustainable source of clean water. As custodians of this crucial infrastructure, local communities will be trained to manage the upkeep of the tanks, including replenishing them. To factor in key Covid19 precautionary measures, social distancing indicators will be signalled, and tanks will display safety information.
“Clean water, decent sanitation and hygiene is a basic human right but unfortunately many vulnerable communities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, do not have access to it. The partnership with WaterAid and World Vision is the first phase in the HEINEKEN Africa Foundation’s commitment to support the fight against Covid19, with a focus on WASH activities. As the pandemic develops, the Foundation will review where additional support is needed most for the first half of 2021,” says Suzanne Giele, the HEINEKEN Africa Foundation General Manager.
Elijah Adera, WaterAid’s Southern Africa Regional Programme Manager says: “Handwashing with water and soap is the first line of defence against Covid19, but more than 4 million people in South Africa don’t have access to clean water. Millions more have nowhere to wash their hands with soap and water, making it easier for diseases to spread. The support of the HEINEKEN Africa Foundation will provide vital assistance to our Covid19 response work. The need for clean water and good hygiene has never been more pressing as we all battle to curb the spread of the virus,”
“HEINEKEN South Africa has already donated over a million Rands worth of personal protective equipment for healthcare workers in designated Covid19 hospitals across Gauteng. Today, we are proud to partner with WaterAid South Africa through the HEINEKEN Africa Foundation to help vulnerable communities in South Africa better combat the spread of Covid19 which is something we have always been dedicated to,” says Millicent Maroga, Corporate Affairs Director at HEINEKEN South Africa.