PWW teams in Haiti and Honduras continue essential safe hygiene education outreach to help vulnerable populations as COVID-19 spreads.
Important to note: The work being done by PWW teams, in response to this crisis, is not simply a short-term band-aid. Decisions are being carefully considered with the objective of building upon our existing hygiene education programs and materials, expanding our reach through new channels, which PWW teams will continue to use long after the threat of COVID-19 has diminished.
Residents across the underserved regions in Honduras where PWW works (including Trojes, Maraita and La Mosquitía) are deeply fearful of COVID-19. While, amazingly and gratefully, the virus has not spread to their regions, the severe lack of medical resources and the lack of proximity to healthcare facilities available to families, if needed, creates widespread fear. What’s more, with stay-at-home measures halting the ability for most families to secure funds for basic necessities, a significant number of families are facing increased food poverty.
Designated essential by the local governments, PWW teams are able to continue doing what they do best…provide critical education about safe hygiene and sanitation practices that can help reduce the fear of the virus by empowering families with proactive ways they can protect themselves from COVID-19 as well as the many dangerous pathogens that exist in their local water sources every day.
In addition to getting safe hygiene messages out to communities (shared in previous blogs), teams are continuing to work on latrines and handwashing stations at local schools. When the children are able to go back to school, they will have a safe place to use the bathroom and wash their hands. Parents have been permitted to come in small groups and help with the construction and painting of the facilities (see photo).
PWW team members are also helping local governments identify families that are facing severe food poverty and assisting with the distribution of resources. As they help distribute food, they are able to reinforce messages about safe hygiene and sanitation practices.
This week, PWW team member, Samuel Garcias, worked with residents in Maraita to install a rainwater harvesting system at a local school (see right). Children will return to school with access to water for the first time ever!
The WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) Training and Consulting team members are continuing to work from their homes, focused on the intricate process of transforming in-person, interactive, group-oriented training sessions into virtual workshops. As mentioned in last week’s blog, once completed these webinars will extend the reach of these training programs long after the COVID-19 shutdowns are over.
“It’s a huge relief to know that the communities in which we work are continuing to do well and are currently safe from this virus,” says Maria Inestroza, Honduras Country Director. “With our established relationships and strong foundation of good communications with local governments, leaders are looking to PWW to help find and implement solutions to the increased demand for safe water, hygiene and sanitation. We are here for them.”
As of today, April 23, the numbers in Honduras continue to rise, with 519 reported cases and 47 confirmed deaths. Please keep the people of Honduras in your thoughts.
Haiti government is reopening some activities this week. There is much speculation about how this decision will impact the spread. Remaining vigilant and committed to keeping our team safe, this week, they will return only to the PWW office, where they will have access to Internet, providing them with better abilities to conduct outreach efforts. They will also be working on our recently relocated sand factory, so that materials will be ready to go once it is safe to begin installing filters again.
Handwashing posters are ready for sharing with partners and community agents (see photo).
When asked why PWW’s continued sharing of these messages is so critical, PWW Haiti’s Laura Guerrier responded, “In Haiti, if we get it, death is our reality. We do not have medical support. We do not have government support. This is why we have to protect ourselves, and we have to help others know how to protect themselves.”
As of today, there are 62 reported cases of COVID-19 and 4 reported deaths, with continued severely limited testing. Please keep the people of Haiti in your thoughts.
Donations matched! A long-time supporter of PWW is matching $10,000 in donations. If you feel inspired, please consider a gift of just $10, $15, or $25 to keep our teams doing this critical work. Thank you! Donate here.
NOTE: The newly released CARES Act allows for non-itemizer deductions of up to $300 for 2020 (claimed on tax forms next year) and lifts the existing 60% income cap on annual contributions for those who itemize in 2020. It also raises the annual limit for corporate donations from 10 percent to 25 percent. Please consult your tax advisor for more details.