in loco Alumni tackle deadly pandemic head on!
To date the deadly pandemic known as Covid-19 has spread across all 54 African countries except for two – Lesotho and Comoros! With no cure for the virus, the best prevention is isolation and good hygiene practices. With a staggering one billion people around the world living in slum like conditions, the question would be how can African nations, especially a country on the lower end of the economic scale such as Lesotho, equip their people with adequate hand sanitation solutions to help fight the spread of Covid-19.
To fill the void, a group of our very own in loco alumni, who have formed a company called xyz collaborative, have been working tirelessly to produce emergency hand-wash stations amidst the 21 day lockdown in Lesotho. Most members of vulnerable communities are without running water and as such are at risk of contracting the virus by coming into contact with contaminated surfaces.
The first batch of hand wash stations was commissioned by an NGO called Sepheo (https://www.sepheo.org/) who wanted to support the Motimposo communities in which they operate. Just before lockdown started on 29th March, 10 hand wash stations were made and distributed at strategic locations, by shops, which are maintaining the stations on an ongoing basis.
We are so proud of what our in loco alumni who are managing to work in a very challenging environment; with limited resources since nothing can be imported from South Africa because of the lockdown and within tight deadlines given the imminent pandemic reaching Lesotho. Moreover the procurement of the necessary materials is a logistical nightmare since hardware stores are closed due to the lockdown.
And transport, is also proving challenging as there are very few taxis and cars on the road and the taxi/ bus fares have sky rocketed, especially since one cannot share a car with so many people anymore.
The struggles the in loco alumni have to face daily to make these mobile hand-wash stations for communities is a true testament to their determination, resilience and commitment to help their fellow citizens.
We are battling on and making more hand wash stations, constantly improving on the design by making them hands-free. The next batch of hand wash stations are being sponsored by UNDP and Action Ireland Trust, which will be distributed, to Health Clinics by Ministry of Health as well as to bus station areas by Maseru City Council.
We will continue to make as many hand wash stations as we can before the funding and resources run out. It is vitally important we give these vulnerable communities the lifeline they need.