We are so grateful for your support of our COVID-19 response. In the previous update, we shared the success of the #Sweat4Soap campaign. The five-day (12-17 October 2021) global activation attracted support from over 130 countries. Every kilometre logged by runners around the world, was matched by a bar of soap and every 100,000 kilometres with a solar-powered water kiosk for rural Ghanaian communities in need. The total distance covered during the campaign was 277,378 km. In impact terms that is equivalent to 277,378 bars of soap and 2 solar-powered water kiosks donated to Ghanaian communities to shield them from a potentially catastrophic COVID outbreak.
We are so thrilled to share the successful implementation of the first #Sweat4Soap kiosk, on the banks of the Volta river. The kiosk was installed in December, as part of a small distribution system and it is an extremely successful project in terms of community patronage and consumption patterns.
Key to success is the local CBO (Community based organization); a very tight-knit community that has invested a lot in infrastructure (e.g. they built a clinic themselves). Now water will change their lives forever. Secondly, it is only our second small network – the MajiPlus - and technically it works really well.
The site selection of the second kiosk (Mini Maji) is almost completed and I will share the community details and final timeline in the next report.
Once again, thank you so much for empowering us in this life-changing mission!
Project Maji Team
Dear Maji changemakers,
Thank you for supporting Project Maji’s Covid-19 response. This is a quarterly update on progress we have made on this project. We are so thrilled to share that in celebration of Global Handwashing Day (October 15, 2021), Project Maji was an official #Sweat4Soap partner. The five-day (12-17 October 2021) global activation attracted support from over 130 countries. Every kilometre logged by runners around the world, was matched by a bar of soap and every 100,000 kilometres with a solar-powered water kiosk for rural Ghanaian communities in need.
The campaign was spear-headed by Nike Ambassador & Dubai-based social activist Manal Rostom. To kick-off #Sweat4Soap on 12 October, Project Maji ran with Manal Rostom and the Volo Community in Volta Region, Ghana. Together, they logged 100 km in support of the campaign. Thanks to Manal’s contagious enthusiasm, local men, women and children joined the run as well When running, Manal spoke to community members about the importance of clean drinking water and hand hygiene for good health and well-being. To conclude the run, Project Maji conducted a handwashing training for the local community to emphasize this simple life-saving practice, particularly in the backdrop of COVID-19.
On DAY 2 of the campaign, we hosted a joint press conference with the Ministry of Sanitation & Water Resources in Ghana to introduce the latter as a proud #Sweat4Soap partner. The honourable Minister was herself in attendance and accepted full responsibility for the bars of soap accumulated during #Sweat4Soap to be successfully distributed among rural Ghanaian communities in need.
The total distance covered during the campaign is 277,378 km. In impact terms that is equivalent to 277,378 bars of soap and 2 solar-powered water kiosks donated to Ghanaian communities to shield them from a potentially catastrophic COVID outbreak. Amazing, isn't it?
Finally, we are immensely grateful to each one of you as you continue to extend your support in these uncertain times. Thank you for all you do!
Project Maji Team
Thank you for supporting Project Maji’s Covid-19 response. You have helped us reach over 75,000 Ghanaian people with a robust WASH awareness campaign, clean water, soap and our zero-touch handwashing stations - the Maji Bucket. Over the previous quarters, we have shared the multiple accolades this simple, yet high-impact innovation has received i.e. Best Awareness Campaign Award by International Humanitarian City, Dubai. In addition, the Maji Buckets have also been selected as a Best Practice Programme to be featured at EXPO 2020 Dubai.
We are so excited to share that the Maji Buckets have also been included in CNN’s preview show “Road to Expo”. Check out some behind the scenes photos in the images section below. The zero-touch handwashing solution has been developed in the field by our Ghanaian Team and it is being hailed as a simple solution with a tangible impact over beneficiary communities in the face of COVID-19.
We could not have done this without your unrelenting support. Thank you once again, for standing with us in these uncertain times!
Your friends at Project Maji
Thank you for supporting Project Maji’s COVID-19 Handwashing with Soap Trainings Project. We are excited to share that our uniquely designed zero-touch handwashing stations - the Maji Buckets – have now reached the end-users.
Maji Buckets reaching those in need
The buckets have now reached those in need as we will soon be concluding the distribution of Maji Buckets across rural Ghana reaching a total of 90 communities and 75,000 people. To reach this level of impact, we partnered for executing with the Volta River Authority (60 communities) and implemented in 20 Project Maji communities as well. African Water Corridor accepted another 50 handwashing stations, reaching 10 communities in the northern part of Ghana.
The beneficiary communities we have reached, have applauded the introduction of the Maji bucket as a simple yet effective tool for protection against the virus. This is what a community elder from Konaboe Community shared with us:
"The Maji Bucket is definitely better because you don’t have to touch the tap to use it. It’s good because otherwise, someone else will come and touch the same tap after washing their hands. We were also told that majority of the virus is transferred through our hands. So how would you see what you are picking up. Using the foot operated bucket is better. This one will protect us better from the virus." - 62 year old - community elder
The communities’ trust in Maji Bucket as an effective virus prevention tool is an important seal of approval on our COVID-19 response. One that reflects that we have succeeded in altering hygiene habits effectively shielding rural communities from the virus.
Project Maji handwashing trainings
Through it all we have remained focused on the heightened need for hand hygiene awareness in the communities we serve. In addition to Maji Bucket and soap distribution, we have delivered COVID-specific hygiene trainings aimed at altering hand hygiene practices. Developed with a participatory approach to encourage beneficiary engagement, we use colourful visual aids customized for varying age groups. Importantly, we have adopted a capacity building approach in light of the social distancing restrictions. Typically, each training cohort includes 10 household heads who are expected to pass on their learnings to their respective family members, empowering them to keep up hand hygiene and fight off life-threatening germs, including COVID-19 virus particles.
Recap March 2020 – March 2021
About a year ago when COVID-19 hit the African continent, Project Maji launched this project as part of the emergency response seeking funds to roll out handwashing trainings and hygiene essentials i.e., clean water and soap to shield vulnerable rural communities in Ghana. We knew we were successfully altering community hygiene practices when we received requests for communal handwashing stations to facilitate the practice at community level. But, having actioned this request we were confronted with the very real threat of the potentially infected taps becoming a source of contagion. Next, our engineers designed a simple foot-operated handwashing station called the Maji Bucket, eliminating the need for touch and effectively curbing the risk of contagion.
Fast forward to Global Handwashing Day in October 2020, we took this project to the next level by participating in the viral #Sweat4Soap campaign. We were floored by the traction gained by this campaign as runners around the globe helped us crush our targets. We had set out to fundraise for 150 buckets but ended up raising funds for a total of 450 Maji buckets to be produced and distributed among rural communities.
There is no doubt that we have made extraordinary progress in delivering hand hygiene awareness and essentials for those in need. However, this is hardly the time to stop as a deadlier new wave of the Corona virus looms over the African continent. We need continued support from changemakers like you to prevent catastrophic loss of life given the poor health infrastructure in the region.
The entire Project Maji Team, and more importantly, the communities we serve are deeply grateful for your support!
This is an update on the COVID-19 Handwashing with Soap Training Project, currently being rolled out across rural Ghana. We have some exciting news, because thanks to your support, we are accelerating access to handwashing facilities in Ghana – providing a front-line defense against the ongoing COVID19 pandemic.
To date, your support has helped us reach 12 communities, more than 2,000 household heads, and 10,000 individuals with handwashing essentials and training. Now, a new chapter is about to start. We took this campaign to the next level by joining the #Sweat4Soap movement, raising awareness around hand hygiene under a week-long activation. Every 100 km logged by runners around the globe was matched by one Maji Bucket donated to a community in need, and for every kilometre, one bar of soap will be distributed.
#Sweat4Soap has been an amazing success and put the project you support in the spotlight once more. The target was to reach 15,000 km, which equates to 150 Maji Buckets, but we were floored with the traction it gained. Ultimately, we reached 68,831 km and thanks to our generous partner Aqua for All, we mobilised the budget to produce 450 handwashing stations. We can now reach more remote communities who are currently vulnerable to a number of diseases, including COVID19, due to a lack of the most basic medicine in the world … soap and water.
The Maji Bucket
In response to the unfolding pandemic, our team of passionate engineers developed a tool to combat the spread of the virus; the Maji Bucket. It is a low-tech innovation, designed to be assembled locally and affordably. The foot-operated bucket eliminates the need to touch potentially infected taps with newly cleaned hands and serves as a transformative tool in virus prevention.
Talent has no boundaries
The Maji Buckets are proudly produced by the Ghana Federation of Disability Organizations (GFD), with whom we have signed an MoU. GFD is a national umbrella organisation that works with the vision to ensure inclusive employment, and Project Maji wants to contribute to this mission. Our technical team provides a step by step training on the production of the bucket, creating local inclusive employment opportunities.
Roll-out to reach 75,000 people
We are currently planning the distribution campaign where every community will receive between 5 to 10 Maji Buckets, depending on the size of the village. We expect to reach approximately 75,000 people by installing the handwashing stations, as well as providing community awareness training. The Project Maji handwashing training is essentially focussed on teaching key steps to proper handwashing. The 30-minute training is designed in line with a participatory approach whereby our trainers employ colourful visual aids and encourage questions and comments to keep the participants engaged. Participants are also encouraged to volunteer step by step demonstrations of handwashing by the end of each session.
Our work has to go on
Even though the African continent has been applauded for recording far fewer infections in comparison to the Americas, Europe, and Asia, a resurgence is expected in the coming months. Experts warn that the continent may not be in the clear even as it sidestepped the worst of the pandemic’s first wave. At the time of publication, the continent was nearing 2 million cases, with 46,900 deaths.
Ghana in particular, fears a second wave and is triggered by intensified political campaigning, ahead of the upcoming elections. According to the Ghana Health Service (GHS), a second surge in cases in the West African country could be more devastating if people failed to adhere to the safety protocols. This coincides with Project Maji scaling up our intervention, providing the most marginalised with the first line of defense: handwashing with soap.
We thank you for your continued support and you can accelerate your impact by donating a Maji Bucket as well: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/water-for-hand-washing/.
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