John Banda (not real name) is a business man who runs a hair dressing saloon at Msundwe Trading centre in Lilongwe district. He said has a successful saloon business as he is able to get customers on a daily basis in his shop.
“Some days are busier than others as the number of people that come to get their hairs done is never constant while some days we have blackouts,” he explained.
However, with the coming of Covid-19 pandemic, small or medium businesses have been affected and John’s saloon is not an exception. He said the number of people coming to get their hair done has gone down but they are still operating.
In response to the pandemic, in order to reduce the spread and chances of contracting the coronavirus, DAPP Malawi through Humana People to People Spain received funds from a Swiss charitable foundation to carry out an intervention that responds to Covid-19. These funds were used to procure handwashing buckets, tablets of soap and produce posters and carrying information on Covid-19 prevention.
The activities were carried out in DAPP Child Aid Dedza Project and 15 other districts of Blantyre, Neno, Mangochi, Chikwawa, Nsanje, Lilongwe, Kasungu, Ntchisi, Dowa, Machinga, Mangochi, Ntcheu, Zomba, Mulanje and Chiradzulu targeting to reach over 10,000 people.
John was among the beneficiaries who received a bucket for handwashing, tablets of soap and posters. He prepared a stand for the hand washing facility which is strategically placed outside his shop and is accessible to his customers, people operating their businesses around his saloon and passers-by.
According to Banda, over 50 people wash their hands using the sanitary facility on a daily basis and the facility has improved the hygiene behaviour since are becoming aware of Covid-19 with posters also available at the saloon.
However, he said their main challenge is enforcing the use of facemasks since some customers say they cannot afford to buy facemasks.
To reach out to as many people through the intervention 300 buckets for handwashing were distributed and placed in strategic points like market entrances, maize mills, bicycle taxis ranks and hair saloons among others.