Accra 24 August 2020  - In the informal settlements of Ghana, the news of the COVID-19 outbreak was met with alarm as residents could not afford preventative measures. However UN-Habitat and partners quickly mobilized their response

“Within a week, the community was provided with mechanical handwashing machines mounted at vantage points and other protection kits,” said Janet Adu who has lived in Ashaiman Tulaku, one of the biggest slums in Greater Accra for 30 years..

Ms Adu, a 61-year-old mother of two,  was one of the first to volunteers to train and serve as a member of the UN-Habitat COVID-19 education committee in her neighbourhood.

UN-Habitat rolled out the ‘Emergency Wash in Ga Mashie as a Rapid Response to the Spread of COVID-19’ aimed at enhancing the community response to the pandemic. In partnership with People’s Dialogue on Human Settlements, the project supports communities with education materials and others from the virus and handwashing equipment.

The UN-Habitat COVID-19 education committee has supported the training of an estimated 14,650 members in Tulaku together with adjoining slums on the importance of a clean and healthy lifestyle and proper handwashing etiquette. Local children were given cartoon books to help them understand how to protect themselves against the virus.

Women were supported to produced hand sanitizers and liquid soaps using the World Health Organization certified procedures for distribution in the community. These women trained others, providing income and work.

In addition, the mechanical handwashing machines procured for the community were built and installed by local artisans, masons, and plumbers, mostly unemployed youth.

“This intervention has brought a lot of growth to our business, we are constantly producing handwashing machines and so far, we have trained about 20 young people to help us deliver the large quantity of eqiupment, “ said  Joshua Nyago, one of the artisans involved.

The project supports people lviing in the Ga Mashie community in the Accra Metropolis, and Sabon Zongo in the Ablekuma Central Municipality with over 300,000 people benefiting directly and close to 500,000 others indirectly at household, community and city-wide levels.