World Vision celebrated the 2020 Global Handwashing Day with journalists from Niger with the objective of creating more awareness in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The celebration event took place at the Africa Hall building of Niamey, in the presence of World Vision staff and partners, local journalists, and other stakeholders. Frequent sessions on the importance of hand-washing were the order of the day.
As part of the celebrations, the Network of Journalists for Water and Sanitation (RJEA) thanked World Vision for providing potable drinking water to 70,000 people across the regions of Dosso, Diffa, Maradi, Niamey, Tahoua and Zinder. Global Handwashing Day seeks to promote access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices as an effective, affordable and safe way to prevent the spread of diseases. The celebration event was themed "Practicing Hand-washing with Soap Under Running Water; Impact on COVID-19 Response” focused on the importance of sanitation and safety measures during pandemics.
According to Ousmane Danbadjie, president of RJEA, the spread of coronavirus would have been wider had it not been for World vision’s efforts to provide communities with water and sanitation facilities. He mentioned that although millions of people still did not have access to clean water and soap in some regions, the drilling of 83 boreholes by World Vision in 2020 has curtailed the spread of COVD-19.: "World Vision is our most committed partner in the fight against infectious and preventable diseases.’’, he said.
This year’s celebration coincided with the opening of the Nigerien school calendar, as Government, stakeholders and international organisations put measures in place in schools to safeguard children as they resume learning in classrooms in order to curtail transmission of COVID-19.
Souleymana Zaroumey World Vision's WASH Director noted that since the start of the pandemic, the organisation has distributed over 1,817 hand-washing facilities and infection prevention control materials to the most vulnerable as part of its COVID-19 response. He said, “The pandemic has presented itself as an opportunity to reinforce the messages we promote on sanitation, by emphasising on frequent hand-washing, especially during these critical times. Hand-washing gives us a 50% chance of reducing COVID-19 and other infectious diseases."
World Vision, as part of its core mandate, has provided 12.7 million people with clean water since 2017. The goal is to reach 20 million people with clean water by the year 2020.