Friday, July 31, 2020

Did anyone learn from the Ebola Crisis? The Water Project.

Take a Water Break

A collection of updates, knowledge, and distractions from us, for you.

Vol. 15 - July 30, 2020

This Week's Highlight

Philip Omukiti is a member of the water user committee for Asena Spring, which he depends on for all of his daily water needs. Our team recently visited Mungakha to conduct a COVID-19 prevention training and monitor their water point. Shortly after, we returned to check in on the community, offer a COVID-19 refresher training, and ask how the pandemic is affecting their lives. 
“Staying indoors is not my thing…It seems I have a lot of time on my hands,” said 31-year-old teacher.
After several months of lockdowns, restrictions, curfews, and stress in his hometown of Mungakha, Kenya, it is easy to find empathy in Philip’s statement as so many people around the world are facing similar challenges.
Continue reading to learn how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted Philip and his family.

Latest From the Field

See what our team has been working on this past week.

Covid-19 Training in Kenya

  • Sierra Leone - 1,803 (+74)
* These figures are based on extremely limited testing. 


WaSH in the News and Notable WaSH Resources

Have some extra reading time? Impress your friends with your new-found WaSH Wisdom.
USAID’s New Center for Water Security Signals Progress, But More is Needed - New Security Beat

"The elevation of water security within USAID is an important acknowledgement that access to water plays a central role in a range of development challenges. But it’s a first step. The test for the Global Water Coordinator and Water Center will be how well they integrate the Agency’s well-known water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) work with investments in ecosystem health and freshwater resource management, resilience and climate change response, food security, energy development, and economic activity across the Agency within USAID Missions around the world. "

10th anniversary of the recognition of water and sanitation as a human right by the General Assembly - OHCR

"Despite all of the important efforts and progress achieved since 2010, too many people around the world are still waiting for the promise made by the General Assembly ten years ago to become a reality in their lives. One in three people still lack access to safe drinking water and more than half of the World population (4.2 billion people) lack access to safe sanitation, while three billion people lack basic handwashing facilities with soap and water, and more than 673 million people still practice open defecation. This unacceptable situation causes 432,000 diarrhoeal deaths every year. Those appalling numbers show that progress has been far too slow and that the international community is far from being on track to uphold its commitment to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030, as per Sustainable Development Goal 6.1 and 6.2."

Inadequate Water & Sanitation Threatens Women’s & Girls’ Development in Senegal - Inter Press Service
"In urban Senegal, water shortages have been frequent for several years, affecting thousands of households. But this summer, the shortage has been more acute, as most homes have seen their taps run dry or reduced to a trickle.  In recent weeks during the  emergency coronavirus lockdown, protests have rocked both the streets of the capital Dakar and M’Bour, a city in western Senegal. Many citizens complained that water supply has worsened since this January when the government signed over the rights of water distribution and management, for 15-years, to a private company called Sen’eau. As the protests grew, the company made a public statement, blaming the crisis on a storm that damaged some of its infrastructure and promised to normalise distribution by next year."

Yemen facing hidden cholera crisis as COVID cases set to peak in coming weeksOxfam

"Thousands of people in Yemen could be dying from undetected cases of cholera because COVID-19 has overwhelmed the country's health facilities and people are too frightened to seek treatment for fear of the virus, Oxfam said today. The number of coronavirus cases in Yemen is likely to peak in the coming weeks while the heaviest rains are expected in August which could deepen a hidden cholera crisis. The numbers of recorded suspected cholera cases since March have shown an abnormal decrease. In the first three months of 2020, there were more than 100,000 suspected cases of cholera in Yemen but this dropped by 50 per cent in the second three months. Last year, the numbers increased by 70 per cent in the second quarter because it coincides with the start of rainy season."

Project of the Month:

Mutulani Secondary School
Kenya - Planned for August 2020

Provide a rainwater catchment to help at least 275 people find access to safe and reliable water. Learn More »

Things We're Reading

Relatively random reads that we found reasonably interesting.
Love Is Medicine for Fear - The Atlantic

"The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu wrote in the Tao Te Ching, “Through Love, one has no fear.” More than 500 years later, Saint John the Apostle said the same thing: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” This is a very strong argument: Love neutralizes fear. It took about 2,000 years, but contemporary neurobiological evidence has revealed that Lao Tzu and Saint John were absolutely on the money."

How (not) to write about global health - BJM

"There has been much talk recently in BMJ Global Health, in other journals, and on social media platforms, about equity in global health research. But there has been little guidance on how to write about global health in a way that advances equity and justice. Inspired by a famous satirical article by the Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina, I present some guidelines for how (not) to write about global health."

Ebola prepared these countries for coronavirus — but now even they are floundering - Nature

"What’s more, some health-care workers say they have not been paid in two months, and have stopped coming to work as a result. This problem vexed the Ebola response as well, leading to strikes among health-care workers. “Since they never paid us what they owed us during Ebola, I’ve decided not to risk my life again for COVID,” says Christopher White, an ambulance driver at Kenema Hospital. A report from the Center for Global Development, a think tank in Washington DC, projects that such problems are likely to grow worse as shutdowns and trade disruptions owing to COVID-19 damage the economies of low-income countries. Current trends suggest that falling economies will translate into a reduction of US$2 billion in the health budgets of all low-income countries between 2020 and 2024."

The Seismic Hush of the Coronavirus - Eos

"Seismic noise has dropped by half during coronavirus lockdown measures, giving scientists a rare lull to search for hidden signals usually drowned out by human activities. Researchers measure seismic waves coming from natural sources, like earthquakes and volcanoes, as well as human activities. Trucks, cars, factories, and even shopping can create high-frequency seismic waves radiating out from population centers, and most scientists filter out human noise to seek for natural signals. But seismic noise has been unusually quiet lately, in what scientists are calling the “anthropause.”"

The Japanese-American Sculptor Who, Despite Persecution, Made Her Mark - NY Times

"Today, Asawa has returned as a subject of rediscovery — someone who has finally been given the kind of international recognition that was owed during her lifetime, and whose legacy reflects both her own contributions as an artist as well as the singular path she forged for herself as the child of immigrants, a woman and an Asian-American. This past April, the United States Postal Service announced that 10 different works of Asawa’s would be featured on a series of postage stamps, out next month. Also in April, the first comprehensive biography of Asawa, “Everything She Touched” by Marilyn Chase, was published by Chronicle Books. She is now routinely included in comprehensive group shows alongside artists such as Anni Albers, Sheila Hicks and Bourgeois. Laib, who took the original call from Asawa’s daughter, eventually moved from Christie’s to the David Zwirner gallery and is responsible for several lauded solo shows of her work, resulting in sales of her sculptures for well over a million dollars."

Things We Like

Taylor Swift - Folklore

"I’m obsessed! It’s so different for her, and I’m so for it! I love all of the songs and I keep finding a new favorite. But right now it’s 'my tears ricochet', 'exile', and 'mad women'."

- Maggie Reilly, Communications Coordinator

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