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Jul 14, 2020

Project WISE + COVID19

Washing hands with soap - so important!
Washing hands with soap - so important!

Project WISE (WASH in Schools For Everyone) Update – Splash’s efforts to reach the most vulnerable communities are especially relevant in this increasingly hygiene-focused environment. In the cities where we work and in the congested schools where we focus our attention, handwashing is a critical component to improving the immediate and long-term health of kids. This is especially relevant now during this challenging time and looking to the future.

At Splash, there are a number of ways COVID-19 is affecting our people and operations. As supporters of our mission, we want to ensure you are aware of this impact and how we are responding. Our decisions are being guided by advice from the World Health Organization (WHO), and by the experience and leadership of our own team. We remain committed to ensuring that children in vulnerable communities have clean water, behavior programs focused on handwashing, decent toilets, and menstrual health education to support their health and well-being.

How is the virus affecting splash beneficiaries?

We are very concerned about the student beneficiaries we serve in Addis Ababa and Kolkata, as well as their teachers and families. Schools are closed in Ethiopia and the government announced a five-month state of emergency in April. India declared a 21-day national lockdown in March, including school closures, which was then extended to July 31. It is not clear how long school closures will be in effect in either case. This has widespread impacts on students from interrupted learning, nutrition/food insecurity (many students in both cities rely on school feeding programs), reduced child safety, and higher dropout rates.

What are you doing to address the virus?

Globally, we are looking at how to ramp up the production of our patented handwashing stations, to provide them to the NGOs, companies, and governments who can deploy them broadly.

In Ethiopia, we are supporting the government’s efforts to protect their citizens in two important ways:

  • First, the government has converted three schools in our program into quarantine centers for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. This means that those quarantined, and the health care workers treating them, will have access to clean water and Splash handwashing stations, both of which are critical to their care.
  • Second, we have partnered with the Addis Ababa Bureau of Health to bring our hygiene intervention to six hospitals. This includes the installation of handwashing stations and hygiene posters that encourage handwashing with soap, social distancing, and other preventative measures to keep health care workers, and those they care for, safe. We hope to expand this work soon to reach other health centers in the capital. 

We asked our Project WISE country leadership how COVID-19 is impacting daily life and how they're staying inspired. Here's what they had to say:

Kelbessa Dada Wordofa, Project WISE – Addis Director

"While no lockdown has been mandated in Addis, the only time I venture out is when I visit the Splash office two days a week and when I go for groceries. To find some joy, we have frequent calls with our relatives located around the globe and have daily family prayer time in the evening. To keep myself entertained, I do online courses on project management and leadership, and read up on the current pandemic and its estimated impacts. I am looking forward to providing support to the students we serve once schools resume and continuing Splash’s Project WISE efforts."

Manish Joshi, Project WISE - Kolkata Director

"When the lockdown was announced, I left Kolkata that very night to be with my family in my hometown located in a different state. My heart goes to those who were not able to leave to join families at this difficult time. Daily life has very much shifted during the pandemic. Luckily, technology is really helping me find joy.  It’s allows my family and I to stay in touch with friends and extended family members, and I’ve been watching Netflix for some entertainment. I'm really looking forward to getting back to schools where we work to help children and seeing my Splash team members."

Jul 14, 2020

Kolkata + COVID19

Strict social distancing for parents
Strict social distancing for parents

A message from Splash’s Project WISE & Interim Kolkata Country Director, Manish Joshi:

Greetings! We in Kolkata are passing through unprecedented time of COVID19, coupled with Cyclone Amphan. Who would have imagined that schools would shut down for such long period? But this is our hour of need and we must aim to keep our children and communities safe. The water and sanitation projects Splash implements are going through the same difficult phase with schools being closed. However, we are still able to complete some of the infrastructure work required to ensure that kids have access to WASH facilities when they return to school. This includes installing water filtration systems, drinking and handwashing stations, and constructing new toilets. In Kolkata, infrastructure work is progressing at eight campuses.  

Splash India, along with our implementation partner in Kolkata, are preparing for the next round of interventions at your schools as soon as we are able. I do appreciate school administrations for being strong during this time and recognize your efforts in distributing the mid-day meal rations to families in need.

I take this opportunity to thank students; parents for keeping children safe; school leadership and teams; government leadership and its team; our donors; government agencies; and Splash India & Splash United States team. 

Please keep on washing hands and stay safe!

Warm regards!

Manish Joshi

Jul 6, 2020

Splash + COVID19 + Ethiopia

Splash handwashing station at an Addis hospital
Splash handwashing station at an Addis hospital

Dear Friends, 

As we face these trying times together, all of us at Splash want to thank you for your unwavering support. It is because of you that the students we serve, as well as their communities, have access to the clean water and hygiene education they need to combat the spread of COVID-19. This is important and timely work we look forward to continuing together.

Splash’s core work is focused on reaching children and their families through our school-based water, sanitation, hygiene, and menstrual health intervention. By expanding access to clean water and promoting handwashing with soap, we help to decrease the spread of disease and increase the overall health of the vulnerable communities we serve. 

With most governments temporarily closing schools around the world, we have found new ways to become directly involved in addressing the spread of COVID-19 in the already vulnerable countries where we work. 

In Ethiopia, we are supporting the government’s efforts to protect their citizens in two important ways:

  • First, the government has converted three schools in our program into quarantine centers for people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. This means that those quarantined, and the health care workers treating them, will have access to clean water (thanks to water filtration systems from Antunes) and Splash handwashing stations, both of which are critical to their care. 
  • Second, we have partnered with the Addis Ababa Bureau of Health to bring our hygiene intervention to six hospitals. This includes the installation of handwashing stations and hygiene posters that encourage handwashing with soap, social distancing, and other preventative measures to keep health care workers, and those they care for, safe. We hope to expand this work soon to reach other health centers in the capital.

We want you to know that your support for Splash is directly helping people right now, during this time of crisis. Once schools re-open, we will continue our regular programming in schools with renewed passion and zeal for our work to keep students, teachers, and school staff healthy.


Wishing good health to you and your loved ones.

Our deepest gratitude,
Team Splash

 
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