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Our Response to COVID-19

The Kwanini Foundation has been working hard during the current pandemic to help safeguard and prepare the people of Pemba against the COVID-19 threat, in accordance with World Health Organisation guidelines.

This time of emergency can potentially affect everyone around the world, and many places are not aware of the dangers nor equipped for the consequences. Pemba Island is one such place. Pemba does not have the resources for regular hand washing and self-isolation as recommended by the World Health Organisation, nor is this message reaching all the communities. Furthermore, most households cannot afford to buy soap and do not have sufficient access to water for washing.

As you are all aware, the foundation relies mainly on funding from the tourism industry but, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this source of income has dried up. We are genuinely concerned for the welfare of the local communities in light of this global threat to human life. The Kwanini Foundation is now channelling all it's efforts into making the local residents of Pemba Island aware of COVID-19, the risks it carries and guiding them on how they can best be prepared.

Additionally, we have created a crowdfunding appeal to gather aid quickly and easily in this trying time of emergency; using donations gained through this appeal we have bought enough soap to distribute to as many households on Pemba as possible. The soap is locally made from seaweed and so will also provide a vital boost to the local economy in the absence of tourism. This appeal also provides enough money to distribute large buckets for water collection to be placed in strategic locations in every village in our district to facilitate hand-washing and improve personal hygiene.

We have so far provided soap and water to approximately 1,000 households, and reached between 6,000 and 7,000 individuals. Such a small intervention means a lot to these marginal communities.

Our appeal can be found here: Kwanini Foundation's Go Fund Me.

Tourism is the Kwanini Foundation's main source of income. Until tourists are allowed back into Zanzibar we are struggling to find enough revenue to help the local communities where it is most needed. As a result of people's generosity so far, we have raised over £1,000 already, but every contribution is gratefully received.

Last month our community team visited 12 different villages within the Makangale and Tondooni regions of North Pemba. The purpose of the well-advertised and well-attended meetings was to educate the local communities on the dangers they might face should the COVID-19 pandemic reach this part of Zanzibar. During these meetings they distributed over 100 water collection buckets and bars of locally made soap. In each location they were greeted by senior officials of the communities and spent time explaining the dangers of the virus, the symptoms, and the principles of regular hand washing and social distancing. We also invited local media to spread the message further and these meetings were featured on national television as well as a local Dar es Salam News feature.

Phase two is now under way, including a publicity and PPE handover event held in May. These events are an opportunity to safely spread the word by reaching a wider audience than our community team can through individual village visits.

We are also very proud to announce that since we made the decision to focus most of our current work efforts on the fight against the COVID-19 virus other organisations in Zanzibar have not only welcomed our forethought but also followed suit. Many people, including the Second Vice President’s Office, have praised our initiative.

On May 16th, the Kwanini Foundation were pleased to host a public meeting to update more community members on the COVID-19 virus and distribute Personal Protective Equipment. The guest of honour for the meeting was the Micheweni District Commissioner who addressed all parties present regarding the situation and Kwanini's role in raising awareness and helping to combat the pandemic.

The Kwanini Foundation presented the District Commissioner with 16 temperature scanners and 3,500 facemasks for community use. The District Health Officer then explained and demonstrated how to use the thermal scanners. Senior local representatives were then given the scanners for use in the local health centres, police stations and other prominent buildings.

In the following two days the Kwanini Community Team distributed the facemasks to people in all the surrounding villages. It is estimated that we covered a minimum of 75% of the local population. Once again, the media were there in support of the Kwanini Foundation campaign with the event featured on Zanzibar government news. The feature can be seen on YouTube.

We would kindly ask that you visit our GoFundMe appeal and if possible provide any support you can, or share the appeal with friends and family. We will be entering Phase three of our anti-COVID initiative soon, which we will update you on as soon as we are able. Asante sana.