Author: j.kertscher

QINA – Be Strong! WASH Campaign linked to COVID-19 Behavioral Change and Vaccine Awareness in the Nelson Mandela Bay City Region

The impact of COVID-19 on health, economic development and community life remains unprecedented in South Africa as well as the Nelson Mandela Bay City region (NMB) in the Eastern Cape province.
To adequately address the impacts on economic and social life from the ongoing pandemic and its consequences in the City region, a collaborative response by private, public and community stakeholders was needed. Therefore, NatuReS South Africa partnered with the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber (NMBBC) under the umbrella of the Nelson Mandela Bay Water & Economic Resilience Partnership to mitigate the tremendous setback stemming from the pandemic.

The QINA campaign logo. Copyright: Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber/Simon Says Visual Communication

In November 2020, in a first phase of immediate actions funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (BMZ) COVID-19-relief-funds, the Business Chamber launched various awareness campaigns promoting behavioural change at community level. Personal protective equipment (PPE) and water were distributed to vulnerable communities. Additionally, community engagement workshops, as well as media-, radio- and poster campaigns in local languages were conducted. Moreover, an extensive school PPE and COVID-19 awareness campaign was developed to ensure a safe re-opening of schools, one of the priorities given the major impact closed schools have on children’s lives and their future opportunities.

QINA campaign rollout in Sydenham Primary School in Nelson Mandela Bay. Copyright: Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber/Simon Says Visual Communication

As the pandemic continued, a second phase of actions was needed. Through another allocation of funds, the NMBBC launched an awareness campaign on COVID-19 behavioural change and vaccine awareness, linked to the safeguarding of jobs in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Region. From February until April 2022, the QINA Campaign (Qina meaning ‘be strong’ in isiXhosa – the most spoken language in NMB) informed the residents of NMB about good water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) principles, linked to COVID-19 behavioural change and vaccine awareness. The campaign included radio adverts on Umhlobo Wenene FM, the most popular radio station in the Eastern Cape with a listenership of about 2.7 million people, to encourage people to protect their communities by washing their hands, wearing masks and getting vaccinated.

Bus back of one of the buses that drove around the NMB area saying “hlamba izandla, usindise impilo zabanye!” meaning “wash your hands, and save the lives of others” in isiXhosa. Copyright: Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber/Simon Says Visual Communication

Moreover, six buses, which drove around the NMB area for three months, spread these important messages through bus back advertising in English, Afrikaans, and isiXhosa. A social media campaign on Facebook reached more than 54,000 people through posts that were boosted to target areas in NMB. Finally, roadshows in 15 schools with more than 11,300 students in Algoa Park, Greenbushes, KwaZakhele, Motherwell, New Brighton, Theescombe, and Zwidewere were organised, informing students and teachers on the importance of WASH principles, highlighting hand washing, wearing of masks and social distancing behaviour. For this purpose, 12,000 booklets containing both a children and an adult section were handed out to the pupils to inform them and their parents on good WASH behaviour and vaccine awareness. In addition, 16,500 facemasks, 650 five-litre bottles of sanitizer, and 90 infrared thermometers were distributed to the schools to assist them in fighting COVID-19.

An example page from the children section of the booklet. Copyright: Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber/Simon Says Visual Communication
An example page from the adult section of the booklet. Copyright: Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber/Simon Says Visual Communication

All these measures aim at improving communities’ and businesses’ resilience against the current pandemic, as well as against future outbreaks and other disasters. Particularly the awareness for the importance of adequate WASH principles and services is crucial to keep communities safe in the long-term.

The Value of Water in the Nelson Mandela Bay Area

Drought and scarcity of water can have devastating impacts on the social and economic development of a region, as can be seen in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province, which is suffering from an ongoing drought and water crisis. In order to shed light on the impacts and evaluate different mitigation scenarios, the Natural Resources Stewardship Programme (NatuReS) as part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Water & Economic Resilience Partnership commissioned the Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) to analyse the impact of water scarcity and effects of different mitigation scenarios on economic growth and human wellbeing for the Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) area and South Africa as a whole. The macroeconomic study found, by using a Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) Model, that improving water saving and reducing non-revenue water will have the most positive effects in terms of GDP and employment, while other measures such as water pricing and reuse and desalination will have little or no positive effects. Not addressing water scarcity will have the most negative effects with a decrease of GDP and loss of jobs.

Aerial view of the Nelson Mandela Bay area. Copyright: Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber

Apart from knowing about the impacts of scarcity, it is also very important to identify the most suitable areas for catchment restoration and management activities. Therefore, NatuReS within the framework of the Nelson Mandela Bay Water & Economic Resilience Partnership and the Algoa Bay Water Fund commissioned the economic consultancy StratEcon to do a comparative analysis of the three Eastern Cape catchments Kouga, Kromme and Baviaanskloof regarding their macroeconomic and water profiles. This way, the most attractive one to potential funders for restoration and catchment management activities should be identified. By firstly conducting a baseline study of the physical and economic environments of the catchments and subsequently calculating a multicriteria decision analysis (MCDA), the Kouga catchment was identified as the most suitable for potential funders.

These findings shall help to inform policymakers and funders to focus their endeavours on the right measures to address the water security challenges in NMB. NatuReS aims to support solutions that improve water security, ensure livelihood strategies and safeguard economic investment through a natural resource stewardship approach, while protecting upstream landscape integrity. For this, the two comprehensive studies were concisely summarised and published as informative brochures to promote stewardship in the Nelson Mandela Bay area and beyond. Please find the brochure “The economic impacts of water insecurity” here and “Economic Baseline and Comparative Analysis” here.

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NatuReS is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and co-funded by the European Union and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). This website’s contents are the sole responsibility of GIZ and do not necessarily reflect the views of the BMZ, European Union or FCDO.

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