Regular hand washing and social distancing is a mainstay of the battle against covid, and the battle isn’t over. Uganda, Kenya and Cameroon have seen recent peaks in covid cases, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa have localised peaks, with school closures, curfews and local travel restrictions in some areas.  But for many of our partners regular handwashing itself is a challenge. Intermittent and low volume of water in taps is common – in Cameroon people report a whole month with no water running water.  Public water points, when serving large numbers of people, are another problem as they make social distancing difficult to organise.  Helping people overcome these basic, everyday environmental problems, some of which have been highlighted by Covid, but are not new, is a key purpose of PACE.

Many schools and communities, like Jockul Ndowen school in Gambia have been using Tippy Taps. They are homemade devices for hygienic handwashing – water flows without  having to touch.  They also use very small quantities of water. A bit fiddly, but fun, and effective!

We were introduced to the village of Ndowen in Gambia’s Central River Region, by Elizabeth Adamescu, She was a Peace Corps volunteer who lived there until last year. We are really pleased to meet their request for PACE materials, heading out soon with DHL. You can see the scorching heat and sandy soils in the photo – they will appreciate the PACE solutions for collecting and storing water and managing soil fertility and to emphasise how education and schooling can help them.

Over my time living and working with the village, I saw how eager they were to learn and grow. The village is in the bush on the border with Senegal, and is mainly a groundnut farming community. The tools for education are always lacking in the community/school because it is so far from the capitol and major cities. The PACE Pack will be extremely helpful to the community and the school for educating on how to resolve local, day to day problems.  The entire village is 4,000 people. There are roughly 400 students at the school. Only a handful of students are able to be at the college in Kombo from our village. We also have adult students enrolled in a program called “Second Chance,” where they are able to go back to school as an adult. Practical learning resources are especially helpful for them.