COVID-19: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation Already Laid In Mali

By Michael Arunga, Emergency Communications Specialist, World Vision Mali

Bamako, MALI (March 30, 2020) World Vision’s water, sanitation and hygiene program in Mali are an ammunition that people will combat the rapidly multiplying coronavirus with, in a conflict affected country that is already classified as fragile.

In 2019, 143,150 people in Mali had access to safe drinking water within 30 minutes round-trip, throughout the year. Clean water is a crucial commodity in combating COVID-19 and is a crucial to all preventive and curative stakeholders. By March 30, 2020, Mali had registered 25 COVID-19 positive cases and two deaths.

Falayan Primary School in Mali, a centre that is a WASH best practice, has latrines, clean water supply system, hand washing stations and hygiene materials. These have improved the living conditions of the school community, also contributing to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 that guarantees universal access to water and sanitation by 2030.

Kani Dao, a teacher at the school says: “World Vision availed safe drinking water, constructed gender segregated and inclusive latrines, provided water kits, tablets of soap and even trained us teachers too.”

In 2019, World Vision’s intervention through the Mali Integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene program (MIWASH) has enabled sustainable access to safe drinking water by constructing 208 water points. The project has ensured 106,200 people access basic sanitation facilities, while more than 140,000 people have been sensitized or educated on good hygiene practices.

“Last year, MIWASH constructed water and sanitation facilities for fifty-one schools and seven community health centres. This enabled attainment of universal WASH services coverage for twenty-three health centers in Kolokani Health District,” Mamane Amadou, World Vision’s WASH senior manager says.

These projects were supported by: charity: water; Hilton Foundation, World Vision USA; Mali government; communes; community based organisations (CBOs); GRUNDFOS International; DRI and DREXELL; UNICEF; UNC; and, WHO and Center on Diseases Control (CDC). Last year, World Vision invested US$ 5,632,863 in WASH interventions.

In line with its mandate, World Vision initiated projects that targeted children. The funding directly reached 15,400 schoolchildren in 51 schools with WASH interventions. Also within schools: 138 new schoolchildren clubs were created and trained on WASH; 51 improved water points were constructed; 70 latrines stalls were constructed in 23 schools and given access to sanitation for 7,283 children; 70 schools were supplied with hand washing kits; and, implementation of campaign dubbed WASH UP! had 100 schools and 5,000 schoolchildren educated on good hygiene practices.

World Vision helped set up and train water committees. These committees comprised of 11 members, with clear instructions of ensuring 30% of them were women. This has empowered communities towards better management and sustainability. WASH UP! champions clubs also have 50% girls and 50% women.

On World Water Day, civil society organisations implored the government and other stakeholders to take urgent measures to conserve water as a resource which is a determinant factor in people’s well-being, by preserving ecosystems.

The civil society noted that clean water is a universal basic need and right that people need to have uninhibited access to, especially now to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite efforts by World Vision and other stakeholders, the goal of universal access to water is still far of. With a drinking water access rate of 68.8% at national level in 2018, (65.9% in rural and semi-urban areas) and 32% in sanitation, Mali’s efforts pale in its strides towards achieving SDG6 that guarantees access to safe-drinking water and sanitation for all by 2030.

All efforts will be harnessed to address coronavirus within Mali, which has hit double digits in less than a week after its emergence in a country with thousands of internally displaced people (IDP), refugees in camps and host communities, many of them vulnerable children.

The key question is how stakeholders will leverage on World Vision’s water sanitation and hygiene groundwork, to bring down the escalating coronavirus numbers. Strategy will be key.

For More Information Contact:

Patrick Daniere

National Director

World Vision Mali


Michael Arunga

Emergency Communications Specialist

World Vision Mali


Cellphone: +223 96 538375 (Mali)