WORLD WATER DAY: COVID-19 WASH APPEAL, OUR IMPACT ONE YEAR ON
March 22, 2021
United World Schools
To mark World Water Day 2021, we’re taking a look back at our Covid-19 Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) appeal, and celebrating our successes during such a challenging time.
Thanks to a generous response to our appeal, we were able to improve handwashing facilities in communities, build new facilities where they were most needed, and coordinated community campaigns informing people about how to stay safe during the pandemic. This past 12 months has presented new challenges, but thanks to such a generous response to our Covid-19 WASH appeal, we were able to keep the communities we work in, safe.
When we started the WASH Appeal this time last year, it was to make sure that our teams, communities and students were safe. Thanks to the incredible generosity from our supporters, we were able to work at speed to make sure communities were protected from Covid-19. Every penny made a difference.
Our first goal was to upgrade all water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities in line with the World Health Organisation’s guidelines. We needed to take urgent action to make sure that all the communities we work in had good working hand-washing facilities, to help stop the spread of Covid-19. Within just a few weeks, we made 161 facilities socially distanced and water efficient, preventing water shortages even with most communities now washing their hands more frequently than pre-Covid-19. Most importantly, we made these facilities accessible for the entire community while students are out of school, so that everyone benefited. We built additional facilities in places of heavy footfall such as near places of worship, and made sure that every community had plenty of soap available to them.
‘’The UWS team has opened the school’s water and handwashing facilities for our community. We use the wash station to clean ourselves. Almost all of the community members and children have developed the habit of handwashing.’’
– Tulashi, Community teacher in Nepal
To support these improvements we set our second goal; delivering an Awareness Campaign to educate as many community members as we could about Covid-19, and help teachers and other staff members to manage the multiple risks posed by the pandemic. In many of the communities we work in, good hygiene and sanitation are a daily challenge, both because of a lack of facilities but also because of poor education.
Through training and communications we taught community members the importance of social distancing, handwashing, and other safety measures. Aware that school closures may also pose more complex child protection risks, we provided additional training for our teachers and staff members to identify and respond to these risks. Through the campaign we reached almost 150,000 community members, helping them to understand how Covid-19 spreads, and how to keep themselves safe.
Providing good quality water, sanitation and hygiene facilities is a key aspect of our mission to deliver quality, equitable, accessible education. By slowing the spread of Covid-19, schools were able to reopen faster, and begin delivering life-changing education in the most effective way. Thank you to every one of our supporters who made this possible.