Abuja-based WaterAid Nigeria has disclosed that Heineken Africa Foundation is supporting its Covid-19 emergency response work with a N284 million (€622,000) donation, which will help vulnerable communities protect themselves against the spread of the disease.
The project, according to WaterAid, 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.
Under the initiative, over 1,000 handwashing facilities will be installed in healthcare centres and public places in the country, while 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, WaterAid disclosed, while being hopeful that the project would reach millions of people across the country.
The funds are said to be part of the Heineken Africa Foundation’s N547 million (€1.2 million) donation to WaterAid to support the international charity’s water, sanitation and hygiene work in vulnerable communities in sub-Saharan Africa.
As well as with Nigeria – where the work will last seven months – the Foundation will support WaterAid’s work in South Africa, Rwanda, and Mozambique.
Evelyn Mere, WaterAid Nigeria’s Country Director, said: “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.”
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 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.”