How the African countries are reacting to the COVID-19 pandemic? A participatory initiative is collecting experiences from the continent.
by Ron Salaj
COVID-FREE is an online participatory toolkit and a collective collection of best practices and bottom-up actions developed by local communities in the African continent in order to contain the spread of epidemics. It is an idea of Taxibroussestudio in partnership with Le Resau. The main goal of the toolkit is the dissemination of simple, creative, economic and tested solutions so as to expand the defense opportunities from outbreaks, especially in the most disadvantaged communities.
The toolkit is structured into four main pillars:
- Local Actions which includes various initiatives at community level, helping to maintain the hygiene and support citizens in the fight against the Covid-19. Examples vary from models of “Street handwashing in Nigeria” where in the city of Onitsha area some street traders reconverted their business in handwashing along the main roads or near the markets to “Portable washing sinks in Rwanda” which have been designed by Rwanda government as preventive action and have been distributed in bus stations and in the main markets.
- Information and Awareness is the second pillar which collects numerous initiatives and programs to raise awareness on epidemic and to spread useful informations with innovative or creative languages. For example, “Kenya Covid-19 Tracker” is a platform – developed by Map Kibera, with the support of Ushahidi – that tracks cases of COVID19 in Kibera and other parts of the country. Another interesting example includes the “Diagnos-Me”, an android app which helps to quickly detect the main symptoms of Coronavirus. It’s still under development with the support of Burkina Faso’s Ministry of Health.
- Tech & Innovation pillar provides information about “Made in Africa” innovative and hi-tech solutions developed by individuals, startups or organizations, such as “Fab-Lab Ouaga Protections”, developed by WakatLab in Ouaga, which includes a protective masks and 3D printed components for breathing machines.
- Policies & Planning is the last pillar, offering a selection of effective anti-epidemic institutional actions and policies or practices related to land and urban planning. In Zimbabwe, for example, the Ministry of Health launched “Hey Zimbabwe!” whatsapp service, which is a tool to stay up to date with the latest official health information from Ministry of Health of Zimbabwe, and share information responsibly. It just takes to text “Hi” to the dedicated Whatsapp number to start a conversation and receive useful informations.
All the initiatives and actions are also mapped out in the map, indicating also the geo-location of the initiatives. The platform welcome contributions by others, in order to populate further the platform with other initiatives and make it thus more rich and useful for the communities around the world who are struggling against Covid-19.
For more information, please visit their platform at https://www.covidfree-toolkit.org/