Illovo Sugar (Malawi) has launched a K75 million community intervention project aimed to help with the fight against the spread of COVID-19 and to promote uptake of COVID-19 vaccine in Dwanga and Nchalo.
The project aims at engaging with the communities to highlight underlying behaviors that have created resistance to adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures as well as vaccine uptake.
The program will also include a communications campaign.
During the project, Illovo will conduct engagement meetings with Community Leaders, School Committees, Districts Commissioners, Religious Leaders, Health Surveillance Assistants amongst others, to discuss COVID-19 measures being undertaken by the different stakeholders.
Speaking on the development, Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc Managing Director, Lekani Katandula said as a business, they believe that for them to succeed they need the communities they operate in to be safe and healthy.
Katandula added that COVID-19 possess a detrimental risk to the lives of not only employees and their families but also the surrounding communities around.
He noted that the company has been able to manage and enforce preventive measures within its business operations but noticed that the same was not necessarily the case with the surrounding communities.
“We believe that if we work together with the communities, we will help in preventing the rapid spread of COVID-19 through a co-creation process that allows for the community leadership to take ownership of the initiatives uniquely relevant to their needs in addressing behavioural change,” he said
The project specifically will target Dyeratu, Maseya, Bereu, Thomu, Nchalo7, Ngabu, Malayini, Miseufolo, Paiva, Sekeni and Kasinthula in Chikwawa, and in Dwangwa the activity will take place within Dwangwa Estate, DCGL Village, Chisita, Mowe village, Vitekete Dwangwa TC, Nkhunga, Mtupi, Liwaladzi, Dema, Banga, Walemera, Ngala and Kasitu.
The company has enlisted the help of CARE Malawi to provide technical support towards execution of the project.
The interventions will also involve door to door activities targeting households where a survey is to be conducted to ascertain the level of understanding of COVID-19 by community members and some of they are facing as a result of the pandemic.
Illovo also seeks to understand water, hygiene and sanitization factors that are closely linked to prevention of COVID-19 amongst other diseases such as Cholera, bilharzia and Diarrhea diseases.
To complement the efforts, Illovo will also distribute five thousand care packages compromising of 20 litre bucket with tap and lid, face masks, soap, and COVID-19 information pamphlets.
Additionally, the company is working with the Ministry of Health to create messages that will be delivered through local radio’s as programs and adverts, PA system announcements, billboards and posters.