ENUGU, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA)- As part of efforts to fight against the spread of disease and future pandemics, the Heineken African Foundation (HAF) in partnership with WaterAid have announced a new €1.125 million phase 3 project on hygiene.
According to the organization, the focus will be on handwashing facilities in five countries; Nigeria, South Africa, Rwanda, Mozambique and Ethiopia, on scale-up hygiene.
HAF revealed that its Foundation since 2020 has donated €2.8 million to the international charity, supporting its emergency response work to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in vulnerable communities in sub-Saharan Africa.
The partnership follows the organisations’ joint COVID-19 response programme, which reached more than 37 million people across the five countries.
It noted that in Nigeria, 837,000 people were reached with the construction of 270 handwashing facilities.
Also, 21 million people were reached with a mass media campaign encouraging good hygiene practices.
As the Foundation and WaterAid enter the next phase of their partnership, the focus will shift to sustaining hygiene behaviours far beyond the COVID-19 outbreak.
Together the two said they would help to reduce the spread of other diseases, developing sustainable handwashing facilities and building more water points to support community access to water.
In Nigeria, the partnership will build on its achievements to date, aiming to strengthen governance structures for sustainable management of WASH service delivery to increase access to clean water, decent toilets, and good hygiene services, supporting the control of the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
This will be done by deepening hygiene promotion to control the spread of COVID-19 in the targeted states, ensuring the sustainability of existing handwashing facilities and increasing access to handwashing facilities in selected public locations and institutions, and advocating for, and providing technical support to, improve water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) governance for sustainable WASH services.
The HAF and WaterAid through this renewed commitment, will help to improve the lives of many more community members across sub-Saharan Africa, supporting them in learning to live with COVID-19.
Speaking at the HAF Phase 3 project held in Enugu State on Thursday, the HAF Manager, Suzanne Giele said: “At the HEIENKEN Africa Foundation we’ve been funding water and health projects since 2007, and we are proud to now be committing a further €1.125 million as we enter this new phase of our partnership with WaterAid.
Giele who was represented by the Corporate Affairs Advisor, Nigerian Breweries PLC, for the South-East, Mrs Chisom Onyeka, the noted that “Having already reached 37 million people in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa through our COVID-19 response work, we know the huge potential that partnerships like ours can have, and we look forward to continuing this work.”
On her part also, Evelyn Mere, Country Director of WaterAid Nigeria, who was represented by the Head of WASH and WaterAid Nigeria, Engr. Ubong Ekanem, said COVID-19 remains a global threat
She said: “Though Nigeria’s daily records of infections have reduced, COVID-19 remains a global threat and no one is completely safe until everyone is safe, especially with the constant mutation of the virus into more deadly variants.
“The experiences of other nations struggling to contain a resurgence of the deadly disease, have shown that we must continue to put up our defences, not just against coronavirus, but infectious diseases in general. In doing this, we must embrace key hygiene behaviours and ensure that we encourage vaccine uptake.”
In his goodwill message, the Executive Director, Dr. Stanley Ile chukwu, South Saharan Social Development Organisation (SSDO), represented by the Head of Programs, Mr. Udochukwu Egwim, said they are working with partners and influence decision-makers to maximise the impact on existing handwashing facilities and increase access to handwashing facilities in selected public locations and institutions.