Amelia is standing in front of prevention awareness banner after meeting World Vision. Image: Natalino Tilman / World Vision

Wash your COVID-19 away

To help save lives from this outbreak, as part of the COVID-19 response, World Vision Timor-Leste, in partnership with European Union, provided 17 water tanks to 6 villages, covering 24 hamlets in Aileu municipality. The intervention aimed to raise awareness, among communities, about the importance of washing hands regularly to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

"During COVID-19, I had difficulties in having access to the information and lacked knowledge about the virus itself. I first heard about COVID-19 when the local authority of our village issued a notice for community members to stay at home. Luckily, World Vision came to the village with water tanks for the communities. I received hygiene kits and COVID-19 awareness-raising posters, and a water tank in my community. The tank is very helpful for my family and me as well as people living here because of its size. He can store huge amounts of water, and we don't run out of water quickly. So we can wash our hands as many times as we need. The community here is working together refilling the tank by fetching water in the spring when it is empty," said 36-year-old Amelia. 

Wanting to support her community members' safety from the virus, Amelia enrolled in a Mother's Support Group member for COVID-19 awareness-raising training. After receiving training, she shared prevention messages with her family and community. "I received training from World Vision about COVID-19 prevention such as washing hands properly with soap, using masks when going out, maintaining social distance at least one metre, avoiding gathering around someone who feels sick, covering the mouth with your hands while coughing or sneezing, going to the hospital immediately when you develop symptoms." 

52-year-old Celestino, the chief of a village in Aileu municipality, was grateful for World Vision's support to spread information regarding COVID-19 prevention and provide relief to survive during the lockdown.  

"Earlier, the community did not know what coronavirus was and why the government had a state of emergency. However, due to no electricity and challenging road conditions, access to any information was very limited," World Vision's Natalino Tilman explained how the tanks are well used by the community. 

"Water tanks built in the public space helped schools, village offices, churches, markets, hospitals and other centres including crowded spot. As a result of this initiative, communities now have access to the water tanks well and make it a habit to wash their hands regularly. They also worked together to refill water when it got empty and educate their children how to wash hands properly to prevent the spread of the virus".

World Vision and the village chiefs will continue to monitor households regularly to ensure they understand prevention measures and keep the tanks safe for long term use.