To help curb the spread, we’re bringing easy access to water and handwashing facilities in schools and informal settlements across South Africa.
According to Amnesty International, approximately 20 million South African citizens – roughly one in every three people – have no access to safe or reliable water and sanitation. Those living in the most under-resourced areas were already grappling with sharing toilets and travelling great distances to collect water long before the onset of COVID-19, but these shocking inequalities came into sharp focus when the country went into lockdown.
MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet fully supports the Constitutional right of every South African to enjoy access to clean water for their everyday needs as well as for sanitation and handwashing. To help address the shortfall, Woolworths and MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet have donated funding to the value of R1.7million which will go towards water tanks as well as hand washing stations at 18 schools in both the Eastern and Western Cape Provinces. The water collected in the rain-water tanks is used for handwashing, flushing of toilets, and watering of sustainable food gardens to support school feeding programmes and to share with surrounding communities.
MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet has also partnered with the UNICEF WASH project to sponsor a further 17 water stations at R20 000 each, for handwashing and good hygiene practices in under-resourced communities. This donation will be accompanied by educational initiatives supporting good hygiene practices.
COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus known as SARS-CoV-2, is a respiratory illness that is spread through contact with human secretions, most notably large respiratory droplets but also via contaminated surfaces. With no vaccine currently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has advised people that the best way to stop the spread includes staying home, maintaining safe social distancing, not touching your nose, mouth or eyes, and washing hands regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
This last point is particularly relevant and given the scarcity of water in many parts of South Africa, the government immediately bought water tanks and shipped them across the country to areas where they were most needed. But there are still many areas that are in need of access to clean water.
“In a time when hygiene is a crucial step in preventing the spread of COVID-19, MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet’s ongoing efforts to bring safe, accessible water to those most in need is a top priority,” says Twine. “We encourage our supporters to continue swiping their MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet or linked Woolies cards each time they shop at our partners to keep helping us to assist those most in need. If we pull together, we can do so much more and every bit really makes a difference.”