Calgary Not-For-Profit CAWST Helps International Hand Hygiene Efforts

Since the onset of COVID-19, CAWST has focused on combatting the pandemic through a collaboration with the COVID-19 Hygiene Hub, a free service developed to help low- and middle-income countries rapidly design hygiene interventions to combat the virus.

Photograph courtesy of Well Beyond Water

The Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST), founded in Calgary in 2001, provides training and consultation to thousands of organizations that reach millions of people with safe water, sanitation and hygiene.

Since the onset of COVID-19, CAWST has focused on combatting the pandemic through a collaboration with the COVID-19 Hygiene Hub, a free service developed to help low- and middle-income countries rapidly design hygiene interventions to combat the virus. CAWST has contributed more than 150 digital and written resources answering common questions about COVID-19 as part of this.

Olivier Mills, senior director of global services at CAWST, says that supporting the Hygiene Hub addresses the fact that not all nations have the same access to resources and information to create guidelines and protections against the virus.

“Here we can isolate and we can quarantine, but in some places if you don’t go to the market that day, you might not get to eat. We are not going into countries and telling them what to do,” says Mills.

According to Mills, the Hygiene Hub is a collaboration between global professionals developing and connecting hygiene resources. If handwashing technology is being used in a low- or middle-income country, it may not be common knowledge to citizens in surrounding areas. The Hygiene Hub provides that information and connects people to one another — making protections against the virus more accessible.

CAWST has worked with the Hygiene Hub to create an online platform that brings together practical information, case studies, technologies and access to long-term support for agencies that work within developing countries.

“The idea is that any organization or agency that is doing COVID-response work in any country could reach out to the Hygiene Hub and we could direct them to any resource or service they require to help them achieve their goal and keep people safe,” says Mills.

October 15th is Global Handwashing Day, and Mills hopes it can be an opportunity to amplify Hygiene Hub and CAWST’s work.

Celebrate Global Handwashing Day Oct. 15 by learning more about CAWST at cawst.org

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This article appears in the October 2020 issue of Avenue Calgary.

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