Spectrum Brands Global Pet Care, a division of Spectrum Brands Holdings Inc., is donating $30,000 to support Well Aware’s clean water initiative, specifically in its efforts to combat COVID-19 in East African communities struggling to contain the virus. The funds will go toward educational materials and mobile support, according to officials.
“For years, Spectrum Brands Global Pet Care has supported Well Aware’s mission to provide sustainable water projects to drive development and empower communities in developing countries,” officials said in a statement. “Through the GloFish Clean Water Initiative, Spectrum Brands has helped Well Aware improve access to clean water with sustainable water systems for thousands of people in East Africa with annual fundraising efforts, working in the communities the group serves and raising awareness of the need to help.”
The communities that Well Aware and Spectrum Brands serve are particularly vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19 because they lack adequate medical infrastructure, and in many cases, don’t have access to soap and handwashing stations in homes, officials added. In April, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa projected that the COVID-19 pandemic could claim the lives of more than 300,000 people across the continent, officials further noted.
“In our work with Well Aware, we have seen first-hand that providing people with the tools and education they need to build self-sufficient communities means a different way of life,” said John Pailthorp, president of Spectrum Brands Global Pet Care. “As COVID-19 continues to spread, we are immensely gratified to be able to further assist Well Aware in connecting these communities with effective and appropriate resources to help combat this virus.”
Spectrum Brands’ contribution will help Well Aware deploy interactive WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) training to remote, rural areas where it’s needed most. This mobile app, created by Well Aware’s partners at Well Beyond, educates users about basic preventative measures using the tools available to them, providing critical information about sanitation and disease transmission; how-to guides on making DIY soap, hand washing stations and face masks; and real-time, ongoing chat support, officials said.
“Governments can’t allow us to be there in person to work with the 270,000 people we currently work with, but interacting live through and constantly updating the WASH app will allow Well Aware staff in Kenya and the U.S. to bridge the divide between COVID-19 guidelines and the physical tools and knowledge the communities have,” said Sarah Evans, founder of Well Aware. “To put this in perspective, this isn’t about teaching people to wash their hands long enough, it’s about building the sink and making the soap to do it with. Now, with the generous commitment of Spectrum Brands, so many more people will be able to gain access to these vital tools and training.”