MAVERICK CITIZEN

Save our Schools provides emergency handwashing stations to vulnerable communities across the Western Cape

By Shani Reddy 30 April 2020

Economist Xhanti Payi said the outbreak of coronavirus infections in the country had exposed the inequalities in South African society, with water being a part of this.

The basic guidelines for limiting the spread of Covid-19 include washing hands frequently with soap and water. However, it is difficult for people in townships and informal settlements who do not have access to clean water to abide by these hygiene practices.

The Department of Health has issued several guidelines in the fight against the spread of Covid-19, including maintaining at least a one-metre distance between yourself and others and practising good hand hygiene.

Health bodies such as the World Health Organisation and UNICEF and medical professionals across the globe agree that washing your hands regularly with soap and water is one of the most effective measures one can take to prevent the spread of the disease.

However, as previously reported by Daily Maverick, practising good hygiene and washing your hands is nearly impossible when you have limited or no access to clean water and soap.

In order to help with these global hygiene guidelines, Save our Schools (SOS), an NPO with a mission to improve water and hygiene equity in schools, launched the start of their Emergency Handwashing campaign on 28 April 2020.

The campaign aims to provide sanitation and hygiene stations to more than 110,000 residents in vulnerable communities, such as Wallacedene, Bloekombos and Scottsdene in the Western Cape.

Each area will have 14 x 5,000-litre water tanks installed with liquid soap dispensers and cement plinths to support the weight of the tanks. 

The campaign will also create jobs for 14 local people in each community who will maintain the water stations by monitoring, managing, and sterilising the tanks and replenishing the liquid soap dispensers. 

The water stations will also have notice boards which will provide important information to the community, such as emergency numbers, Covid-19 symptoms and how to effectively wash hands.

The costs involved in carrying out such a project are substantial and as an NPO, SOS relies on donations to continue its work. 

The Grundfos Foundation, a Danish foundation which supplies funds for sustainable water projects, has pledged more than R46-million to several emergency initiatives around the globe during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

SOS has received a financial donation from the Grundfos Foundation to expand existing projects in informal settlements. 

In order to safely expedite the work being carried out by the SOS team and volunteers, Volvo Cars South Africa has provided SOS with cars which will be used to transport essential goods, food items, sanitisers and the building materials required for the water stations. DM/MC

Gallery

Scientists Collective – Covid-19

Anticipating a ‘second wave’ — and when and how South Africa should try to prevent or mitigate it

By The Scientists Collective