Uganda has been under total lock-down and a curfew for weeks and both the lock-down and curfew were recently extended by the President until May 5. The good news is that our partner in Uganda, Partners for Community Transformation (PaCT) was recognized by the government as an essential service provider. Here’s what PaCT Executive Director, Geoffrey Kinaalwa, reported to us just days ago.
“This pandemic has caused a lot of anxiety and panic across the world. In Uganda it’s no different, though we feel so sorry hearing alarming numbers getting infected in US. Just like you, all our staff are empowered with internet to work from home and we have weekly meetings to check on each other, our emotional well-being, and checking on the official work being done.
It is indeed well stated in your fundraiser, “water can’t wait.” During this period, water is more crucial than ever as it is the first line of defense against the spread of this deadly virus. The second challenge for us is the ignorance that surrounds the populations regarding the virus.
PaCT as a WASH organization joined the District COVID-19 Taskforce and is currently spearheading awareness raising in rural communities, educating communities on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19, how to notice signs and symptoms of the virus, where to address it in case there is a suspected case and how to handle the suspected person among others. We are doing this by talking through loud speakers put on the truck and driving through the villages to disperse the information, talking on radio talk shows, and displaying different educational materials.
In addition, we are reaching out to most at-risk households (the elderly and those with health conditions) with Tippy taps, soap and other hand-washing facilities. We have also supported the district task force by providing fuel for the response team, radio airtime to ease communication, and hospital mattresses for the isolation center. Our intervention has largely been welcomed by the communities, the regional task force and widely captured on the national TV stations. Although all private cars were banned from moving, PaCT vehicles are exempted as part of the essential services and allowed to move for purposes of reducing the spread of the virus.”
One of our partners in Ethiopia, the Relief Society of Tigray (REST) also sent us these photos (below) from the field! Communities in rural Ethiopia are practicing social distancing in line at water points and using hand-washing stations as much as possible. These communities have the clean water they need to stay healthy thanks to YOU! You are saving lives when you give the gift of clean water.