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Using Mobile App Technology to Slow the Spread of COVID-19 in rural East African Communities

As COVID-19 spreads throughout East Africa, Well Aware is rapidly responding to protect the health and wellbeing of the 270,000+ people we've supplied clean water to since 2010. To do so, we've launched the Emergency WASH Fund -- a vital campaign aiming to raise $150,000 by June 1st, 2020. These funds will help protect all of Well Aware's partner communities from the spread of the coronavirus.

the challenge

Most of our partner communities live in rural areas across Kenya and Tanzania, and are particularly vulnerable to the spread of the virus. We know COVID-19 will cause significant damage in these remote communities due to the lack of medical infrastructure, short supply of soap and handwashing stations, and the gap in vital information that is accessible.

Although the intervention needed to combat the virus in these rural areas is multifaceted, the World Health Organization states “basic preventative measures by individuals and communities remain the most powerful tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

well aware's response

Since we needed to temporarily pause all new water project implementation due to lockdowns throughout East Africa, we have made an extreme pivot in our programs to help our partner communities combat this crisis.

We know basic hygiene can reduce illness in rural communities by 64%, and that proper handwashing can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, specifically. We also know that 34% of Kenyans between the ages of 18 and 34 own a smartphone, and that most local leaders in our partner communities have access to mobile technology.

That’s why we’ve partnered with Well Beyond to leverage existing technology and deploy an app-based WASH tool that will meet this crisis head-on. Here's what it provides:

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Interactive WASH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) training

Community leaders will be equipped with an array of virtual materials, from handwash training videos and quizzes about disease transmission, to instructions on disinfection methods. The leaders will then be able to disseminate the materials and necessary information throughout their communities and help train the rest of the population.

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Guidance on creating DIY soap & handwashing stations

Communities are often limited in the number of handwashing stations they have within the area, and lack access to adequate sanitation materials. We will provide guidance for our partner communities on building their own temporary handwashing stations, making their own soap, and other actions they can take to improve handwashing rates.

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Real-time chat support to help prevent COVID-19

To help provide the support they need, community members can chat remotely with our Nairobi-based staff for personalized WASH recommendations. For any medical assistance required, we'll refer communities to local healthcare workers or medical NGOs.

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Customized activity tracking & impact measurement

Communities will be able to access customizable checklists for WASH response. Our team and community leaders will then be able to track training completions and collect data on the solution's success. This will allow us to better measure impact as well as communicate with community leaders to ensure results.

By deploying emergency WASH support via Well Beyond’s mobile app, we can equip our partner communities with the tools needed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, and save lives.

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how can YOU help?

We need your support to scale this vital WASH solution and protect these communities from the spread of COVID-19. Your urgent attention could save lives.

1) Donate to Well Aware's emergency WASH fund. If you have the ability to give, every dollar will make a difference in fighting COVID-19 and protecting these vulnerable populations. Our goal is to raise $150,000 by June 1st, which will allow us to provide this vital WASH solution to all of our partner communities across 70+ projects. Your gift can help protect the more than 270,000 people we’ve provided clean water to since 2010.

Donate

2) Become a #WashAware advocate & help fundraise. Amplify your impact by becoming a fundraising advocate. You’ll receive a unique URL to the WASH fund’s donation page that will track how much you raise. You can then ask your friends and family to support you.

Fundraising Ideas: Create a Facebook fundraiser. Email your network. Add the link to your bio on Instagram. Share it on Facebook. You could even ask people you know to donate $0.25, $0.50, or $1 each time you wash your hands. Email us today to learn more ways you can make a difference!

Become a #WashAware Advocate

3) Spread the word on social. Raise awareness of the importance of WASH, create goofy challenges involving bathing, strike a pose while handwashing, or more. Get creative & have fun sharing about a good cause! Templates and ideas here.

Toolkit here

Together, we can prepare & protect rural East African communities against the spread of COVID-19.

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More About Well Beyond

Well Beyond is a social enterprise leveraging technology and expertise to improve and increase clean water access globally. They are developing and deploying mobile technology to close the gap in Operation and Maintenance in the rural water supply sector.

Learn more here.

Emergency WASH Fund FAQs

What is currently happening in East Africa with the coronavirus?

The cases of COVID-19 are expected to peak in the coming weeks with forecasting of anywhere from 300,000 to millions of deaths. Many official sources report that the pandemic will hit the African continent the hardest due to the lack of medical infrastructure and difficulties in tracking. The WHO, as well as the government of Kenya, maintain that proper WASH training is the best defense against the spread of coronavirus in rural African communities.

What is the WASH Response and why are you doing it?

The WASH Response is Well Aware’s way of helping reduce the spread of COVID-19 in East Africa. WASH is an acronym used in the water sector that means Water, Sanitation, & Hygiene (most commonly used in efforts to educate about Sanitation and Hygiene). In rural areas, the spread of information is very slow, and access to vital tools, such as handwashing stations and soap, is very limited. So, Well Aware is partnering with Well Beyond to distribute vital information and tools to our partner communities to ensure communities are better equipped to handle the aggressive spread of COVID-19 in these regions. This critical information will be delivered via an interactive mobile app and will help local leaders and community stakeholders leverage existing resources within their communities.

FAQS CONTINUED HERE

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Thank you for supporting the health & wellbeing of the 270,000+ people we've supplied clean water to since 2010.