WaterAid Nigeria says the Heineken Africa Foundation is supporting it with a N284 million (€622,000) donation, for Covid-19 emergency response in vulnerable communities.
It said the project is designed to strengthen ongoing efforts to curtail the spread of the coronavirus disease in Nigeria by supporting national and state governments to promote hygiene practices and hygiene behaviour change on a massive scale.
The organisation in a statement by its communications person, Oluseyi Abdulmalik said the fund will see to the installation of more than 1,000 much needed handwashing facilities in healthcare centres and other busy public places in Nigeria.
Also, it said hygiene product packs will be distributed to 12,000 households and 6,000 people with disabilities.
“A large-scale hygiene campaign will also be carried out on TV, radio and billboards. It is hoped the project will reach millions of people across the country,” it added.
WaterAid, however noted that the funds are part of the HEINEKEN Africa Foundation’s generous N547 million (€1.2 million) donation to it, aimed at supporting the international charity’s water, sanitation and hygiene work in vulnerable communities in Sub-Saharan Africa
It noted that the project will last seven months, while also adding tthe Foundation will support WaterAid’s work in South Africa, Rwanda, and Mozambique.
Also, It stressed that handwashing with soap is the first line of defence against the spread of infectious diseases such as Covid-19, but according to government statistics more than 160 million lack access to basic handwashing facilities with soap and water, increasing the risk of infection.
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The statement also quoted Evelyn Mere, WaterAid Nigeria’s Country Director, as saying that:“The need for clean water and good hygiene has never been more urgent as we battle to contain the spread of Covid-19.
“Handwashing with water and soap is the first line of defence against Covid-19, but around 60 million Nigerians don’t have access to clean water and a staggering 167 million, that’s 84% of the population, lack access to basic handwashing facilities with soap and water, making it easy for the virus to spread. The support of the HEINEKEN Africa Foundation will provide vital support to help us scale up our Covid-19 response work.”
On her part, Suzanne Giele, the HEINEKEN Africa Foundation General Manager said:“Clean water, decent sanitation and hygiene are basic 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.”