Fortunately, COVID cases have continued to remain relatively low in Niger but the lack of clean water in communities without a safe water well makes these villages extremely vulnerable. Hand washing is a key intervention, and it takes clean water to do that. We are so honored that GlobalGiving recognized the critical nature of our work with their gift of a $25,000 grant to us from the Coronavirus Relief Fund.
The impact of the pandemic is also felt across the country as travel and commerce have been limited as part of the disease mitigation strategy undertaken early and effectively by the Nigerien government. As mentioned in our last update, we were experiencing some delays in getting drilling rigs repaired since the shipment of replacement parts had been slowed due to corona virus border closures. Fortunately, all of our drilling rigs are fully functioning, and we have drilled thirty wells since our last report.
The current challenge, however, is again related to shipping delays. The handpump mechanism that is needed to complete the wells and make them functional are produced outside of Niger, and production and shipment of this critical piece have been delayed. There has, however, been progress in recent weeks on securing the handpumps, and we are confident that all of our recently drilled wells will be capped and serving their communities within the next month.
In this time when we are all obsessively washing out hands to slow the spread of COVID-19, it is clearer than ever that access to safe water is a fundamental human right. Attached are photos of women and girls pumping water at the wells that have completely transformed their villages and their lives.