As an organisation committed to ensuring healthy communities, the health and safety of our supporters is a top priority. All of us at SurfAid are saddened by the progression of the pandemic and each and every one of you is in our thoughts.

 

Despite these unsettling times, we would like to keep you updated on the status of our current programme areas. As of today, there are no reported COVID-19 outbreaks in our communities, and this is something to celebrate! We work with remote communities that start with little or no awareness of hygiene practises and their role in spreading disease. We teach our communities how to build and maintain clean water facilities and incorporate hand washing campaigns as part of the overarching message. Having existing sanitation programmes makes our response to our community’s immediate, and this puts us in the best possible scenario during these uncertain times

March 22 is World Water Day and this year it is even more important to remember to wash your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub. Correctly washing hands remains a simple and effective way to fight off serious diseases, including the COVID-19 virus. Improved sanitation practices such as hand washing are a critical component of SurfAid’s Mother and Child Health Programmes. To promote this healthy behaviour, we concentrate on teaching how to wash hands properly, by using soap under flowing water. This simple behavior change can drastically reduce the rates of illness in children including respiratory infections.

 

For our communities that don’t yet have access to a water facility, we promote simple tools, Such as the ‘tippy-tap’ as an early intervention. The tippy tap is a hands-free way to wash your hands that is especially appropriate for rural areas where there is no running water. It is operated by a foot lever and thus reduces the chance for transmission of bacteria as the user touches only the soap. It uses only 40 milliliters of water to wash your hands versus 500 milliliters using a mug. Super simple and very efficient, it only needs some sticks, rope and a container to ensure a family has a hand-washing facility.

 

With 20 years of working in remote communities and focusing on improved sanitation, we’re thankful these ongoing efforts will help our families. Communities who have already been introduced to sanitation aren’t forgetting these lessons and this is another example of the power of sustainable development programs like our Mother and Child Health Model.

 

With challenging times such as these, your support is needed now more than ever. In honour of World Water Day, please consider supporting SurfAid’s efforts. Sign up to surf in a SurfAid Cup, share SurfAid’s work with others, or consider donating in support of our continued efforts.

We are thankful our ongoing focus on improved sanitation practices will help our remote families stay healthy and appreciate your help making this possible. Stay safe everyone and please visit surfaid.org for more information on our clean water programmes and latest updates on the COVID-19 pandemic.