Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc has launched a community intervention project to help with the fight against the spread of COVID- 19 in Dwangwa 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.
The project is estimated to cost the company a total of K 75 million and is targeting all Illovo Sugar Estate villages, surrounding communities, and the grower community.
Illovo will be conducting engagement meetings with Community Leaders, School Committees, District Commission Religious Leaders, Health Surveillance Assistants amongst others, to discuss COVID-19 measures being undertaken by the different stakeholders.
Illovo also seeks to understand water, hygiene and sanitation factors that are intricately 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 20 litre buckets 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 radios as programs and adverts, PA system announcements, billboards, and posters.
“As a business, we believe that for us to succeed we need the communities we operate in to be safe and healthy. COVID-19 possess a detrimental risk to the lives of not only our employees and their families but also the communities around us,” Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc Managing Director Lekani Katandula said.
He further added 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.
The company believes that by working with the communities through two-way engagements and co-creation of community initiatives it will ensure that there is community ownership of initiatives.
“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 behavioral change,” he said.
The company has enlisted the help of CARE Malawi to provide technical support towards execution of the project.