OUR RESPONSE TO COVID-19
In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Living Water International is rapidly mobilizing churches and communities and providing safe water, sanitation, and hygiene in 18 countries.
Data models show that as COVID-19 achieves outbreak status in low-income contexts like sub-Saharan Africa, the impact will be devastating due to economic and healthcare inequities. Washing hands continues to be the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but unfortunately, 75 percent of households in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have handwashing facilities with water and soap1, and globally, 43 percent of healthcare facilities don’t have safe water or handwashing stations at points of care2.
To help tackle this challenge, Living Water is redoubling our efforts to provide safe water and life-saving knowledge of good hygiene in the most vulnerable communities and healthcare facilities around the world.
BEFORE JUNE 30, WE AIM TO:
COVID-19 RESPONSE PRIORITIES
1. Mobilize churches & communities to limit the spread of disease
Living Water has widespread networks of churches and local ministry partners all around the globe—many of whom are already trained and taking leadership roles in community water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services. We are working with these existing networks to train church leaders and volunteers on COVID-19 community transmission, prevention methods, and how it will impact their ministry, the community, and their families. This is increasingly being done through innovative channels like WhatsApp and social media, supported in some cases by content delivered through Christian radio and television providers. A key resource in this effort is the COVID-19 Church Response Guide (http://flourish.guide). Living Water teams and their church partners are mobilizing Water User Committees to improve rules and procedures used at water points, including installation of handwashing facilities at water collection points and social distancing during queueing.
2. Improve water supply and handwashing facilities in vulnerable communities and healthcare facilities
With the increasing importance of handwashing as the primary means of fighting COVID-19, Living Water teams continue to focus on safe water and access to handwashing stations. In support of national and local response plans, we are shifting our focus toward communities that are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 and the hospitals and clinics that serve them—recognizing that globally 43% of healthcare facilities don’t have safe water or handwashing stations at points of care.
3. Promote infection prevention and control through public information campaigns
Our normal approach to hygiene promotion involves conducting workshops and group trainings in each community, but due to the need to maintain safe social distance, we have modified and broadened our promotion efforts. This usually involves equipping local leaders to advocate for accurate COVID-19 messages in their circles of influence. In many cases, we are reinforcing these messages through district-wide promotional campaigns implemented in partnership with government and other stakeholders using mass media, social media, posters, and billboards.
4. Distribute hygiene supplies and personal protective equipment to communities and health care facilities
During this crisis, we also be working to provide hygiene supplies (soap, hand sanitizer, disinfectants, buckets, etc.) and personal protective equipment (face masks, gloves, etc.) to communities and health care facilities that do not have enough current supplies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
REGIONAL RESPONSE SUMMARIES
Across Africa, the caseload of COVID-19 remains relatively low. However, there are cases in every country where Living Water works. This is especially concerning due to limitations in most healthcare systems on the continent. Kenya, one of the most developed countries in sub-Saharan Africa, only has 500 ICU beds for a population of 50 million people.
Living Water teams are working hard ahead of an anticipated wave of COVID-19 cases. In West Africa, staff are applying the lessons learned during the Ebola outbreak five years ago and are taking strategic proactive measures alongside government authorities to prevent virus transmission. In East and Southern Africa, our teams have also launched their responses, working directly with our networks of churches and community leaders and using media to spread messages on COVID-19 prevention.
Latin America & Caribbean
COVID-19 cases are continuing to increase in Latin America and the Caribbean, particularly in Peru, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic. Most governments took quick action to institute travel bans and quarantines early in the crisis, which has created operational challenges across the region and forced teams to get creative about their program strategies.
In Honduras, Living Water has worked with Christian radio stations in Choluteca to develop on-air content and public service announcements about how to prevent COVID-19. The Mexico team has developed a campaign to distribute graphical and video-based content to community influencers via social media channels. Haiti has been able to continue its efforts, with modifications to limit group gatherings, and is focused on water services for particularly vulnerable populations, as well as sanitation and handwashing facilities at healthcare facilities.
COUNTRY RESPONSE GRID
updated on May 13, 2020
|Country||Active COVID-19 Response||Water Projects||Church and Community Mobilization Activities (small groups or virtual)||New COVID-19 Prevention Programs|
COVID-19 Emergency Fact Sheet
Read more details about our program objectives, priorities, funding needs, and updated goal tracking.
HOW CAN I HELP?
Please join us in prayer for the health of vulnerable communities and for those providing relief in response to COVID-19.
You can financially support this critical work and provide hope in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Clean hands save lives! Will you help us continue providing physical and spiritual relief for communities vulnerable to COVID-19?
If you are interested in reading further about Living Water’s continual efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and serve vulnerable communities, see the following additional resources.
-Living Water’s COVID-19 Church Response Guide to help churches respond to the pandemic
-Voices of America feature: “Wash Your Hands” Is Tough Message Across Africa
-World News Group feature: “Lending a Hand”
-Devex feature: “What Does A COVID-19 Response Look Like with Limited Water?”
1 UNICEF and World Health Organization (2019) Progress on household drinking water, sanitation and hygiene 2000-2017: Special focus on inequalities, New York
2 UNICEF and World Health Organization (2019) WASH in health care facilities: Global Baseline Report 2019, Geneva.