WATER FOR PEOPLE + COVID-19
March 31, 2020
You might already know Water For People has been laser-focused on three critical areas of global need since our inception - water, sanitation, and hygiene. As the impact of COVID-19 continues to swell around the world, hygiene is quickly becoming top of mind. Consequently, these are the operational activities we are prioritizing:
- Accelerate our efforts to finish construction of water systems that will serve hundreds of healthcare facilities across nine countries. We do this work while continuing to teach the importance of handwashing in homes, schools, and clinics.
- Bolster our public health systems-strengthening capabilities with government ministries. This is critical for two reasons:
- Sustainability: As the current health crisis grows, local governments need the skills to change human behavior and stop the spread of the virus. A particular need is the long-term improvement in personal hygiene practices in homes and healthcare facilities.
- Resiliency: Faster response times mean more lives are saved in times of crisis. Assisting and enabling government agencies to respond faster avoids chaos, misinformation, and unnecessary loss of life. This creates community resiliency and readiness for the next public health crisis.
- Support aid agencies that are financing new emergency infrastructure such as hospitals and healthcare facilities. Our role is to ensure that good handwashing and hygiene practices, along with proper facilities, are included in the scopes of work so the disease transmission is broken.
- Maintain our teams in place as best we can during the COVID-19 crisis. This is so that when, not if, the situation improves in each country, we are ready to help families, communities, and governments in the recovery process.
March 19, 2020
- All global employees are working remotely whenever possible. Our IT team is supporting in instances of unstable electricity or internet connections.
- Our annual monitoring is temporarily delayed since it often includes a door-to-door survey.
- Our program teams are continuing to be flexible and creative to ensure that work continues despite this new environment.
current confirmed cases in Water For People program countries as of April 6, 2020
Some countries are currently unable to properly test for COVID-19 or are processing cases using different methodologies. For example, in certain areas of the United States, tests are only supplied to those who are hospitalized or extremely ill. Therefore, the number of cases is likely far greater than what is being reported by the CDC and the WHO. This is likely true in some of Water For People's country programs as test kits are still difficult to find and take an extended period of time to receive the results.
Even if cases reported are low, that doesn’t mean that there is a low possibility of contracting the virus. It is best to follow local government guidelines and continue to practice social distancing and safe hygiene procedures.
resources and mythbusting from the world health organization (WHO)
These materials are regularly updated based on new scientific findings as the epidemic evolves. Last updated 18 March 2020 Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority.
About EPI-WIN WHO's Information Network for Epidemics (EPI-WIN) provides resources and regular updates, answering pertinent questions as epidemics unfold. It aims to de-bunk myths that emerge on social media and other sources and leverage existing networks within sectors to disseminate information.
WHO has launched a dedicated messaging services in Arabic, English, French and Spanish with partners WhatsApp and Facebook to keep people safe from coronavirus. This easy-to-use messaging service has the potential to reach 2 billion people and enables WHO to get information directly into the hands of the people that need it.
messages from ceo eleanor allen march 31, 2020
Dear Water For People Supporters,
As I sit in my house under mandated "stay-at-home" orders, I can’t help thinking about the shocking images from around the world of empty streets and deserted historic landmarks. Through a flurry of emotions, a single thought emerges:
"I am participating in the greatest single act of solidarity I will witness in my lifetime."
Looking out my window, a second thought immediately follows the first:
"My neighbors are not just the families on my street. They are mothers in India, children in Peru, and families in Rwanda. We are all affected by the COVID-19 virus regardless of our locale."
My thoughts don’t stop there. I am acutely reminded of healthcare workers like Priscilla, from the Kamwenge District of Uganda. Her clinic now has safe, reliable water thanks to Water For People’s efforts there. But she is among the fortunate. A 2018 study of 130,000 healthcare clinics in low-and middle-income countries showed 50% don’t have piped water and 39% don’t have soap. In our time of crisis this is unthinkable!
I know we are all feeling the impact of COVID-19 in various ways right now whether it be financial, physical, or emotional. If you are able, please consider giving what you can to Water For People. Your support will help us stifle this pandemic and continue our ongoing work with even greater urgency than before. Every dollar matters. Now more than ever, we are all neighbors, and we are all in this together.
CEO, Water For People
MARCH 18, 2020
Dear Water For People Supporters,
As we all begin to navigate the various COVID-19-related challenges in our own communities, we wanted to share the ways Water For People is navigating the challenges in the nine countries where we work. The extent of the virus outbreak, as well as the response in each country, has varied. We continue to monitor the rapidly-changing landscape with daily check-ins with country teams.
First and foremost, the safety of our teams and communities is our top priority. Therefore, our global employees (including U.S.-based headquarters staff) are now working remotely whenever possible. Our Information Technology (IT) team has been busy ensuring teams can work remotely and stay connected despite challenges like unreliable electricity and tenuous internet connections. We now feel confident in our ability to maintain workflows and communications that rely on IT.
At this time of year, our teams are typically busy monitoring water service levels as part of annual monitoring and evaluation efforts. This work is temporarily delayed, since is it often done by door-to-door survey. We are also in the process of re-evaluating work plans and timelines related to construction and completion of water and sanitation systems. But, rest assured, our program teams are continuing to be flexible and creative to ensure that work continues despite this new and challenging environment.
We will keep you apprised through this website page as we continue to assess the impacts we anticipate the COVID-19 virus will have on Water For People’s important work.
Thank you for your steadfast partnership and support during this difficult time.
CEO, Water For People
Now that handwashing is headline news, as a nonprofit that works to deliver reliable water service and to educate about good hygiene practices – especially handwashing – we wanted thank you for supporting this important work.
When hygiene hits this close to home, it makes us even more grateful for our donors and supporters. You are the reason we can continue to make positive impacts on hygiene habits for hundreds of thousands of people across nine countries around the world. Thank you.