Safe Water Network's Ongoing Response to COVID-19
Now more than ever, access to safe water has become salient for communities around the globe. When COVID-19 became a global pandemic in early 2020, Safe Water Network implemented rapid measures to protect our staff worldwide and ensure our consumers could continue to rely on the safe and affordable water supply they expected from our H2OME! and iJal Stations in Ghana and India, respectively. Our approach was five-fold:
- Implement government protocols in Ghana, India, and the United States. This included quickly transitioning to remote working, enacting social distancing protocols at water stations, as well as providing PPE to field staff and consumers. We also began providing treated water at no cost to users under the Government of Ghana's free water mandate, enacted in April 2020, to provide a lifeline water supply to all.
- Build upon these protocols across our entire value chain to ensure safety of our communities, consumers, vendors, and partners. This included mobilizing remote technology to keep stations running through the lockdown. We also implemented foot-pedal technology at our iJal stations in India, and encouraged consumers to use e-payment to limit close-contact cash transactions whenever possible.
- Engage with government bodies to increase access to safe water through training and policy implementation, as well as work with public agencies to understand the impacts of COVID-19 and responsive programmining on the operational and financial sustainability of small water enterprises.
- Create water and hygiene learning aids and tools to increase knowledge and awareness, and share them with the broader sector through digital resources and webinars.
- Collaborate with other small water enterprises to share insights on COVID-19 response programs, identify best practices to date, and standardize processes to enable the sector to be better prepared for future crises.