For the past 11 years, we have fought tirelessly alongside hundreds of thousands of students, donors, supporters, board members, staff, and volunteers to bring an END to the water crisis. We know that clean water is critical for community development, and we also know the importance of clean water on sanitation and hygiene. Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, we understand that access to clean water is the first line of defense for prevention, and we wanted to share with you the action steps we are taking to help combat COVID-19 around the world.

Our biggest concern as an organization is for rural, developing communities that we work with, because they are the most vulnerable. The fact that there are not strong franchised public health systems or hospitals that service these rural communities, and the fact that these communities do not have the ability to wash their hands as easily or as thoroughly for prevention as we all know is critical for COVID-19, makes our relief efforts extremely critical. Because of this, the Ministry of Health in ESwatini has put together a plan that prioritizes access to resources to address this need, as well as training not only for standard hygiene and handwashing, but also social distancing practices both WITHIN rural communities, and, particularly social distancing within the communities to prevent interaction with other people FROM OUTSIDE of them with the exception of trained health workers adhering to Ministry protocols & standards to ensure the safety of both those health workers as well as the community they serve. 


The amount that disease rates can drop virtually overnight by providing safe drinking water.

Proper Sanitation & Hygiene are the key to getting through this time.

Thirst Project is one of the leading organizations in the WASH space in ESwatini, and, as such, we have agreed to answer the call of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Natural Resources, both in terms of providing financial assistance towards the goals that they’ve outlined as well as providing manpower through our Team’s personnel to help in the implementation of the goals that the Ministry has prioritized. The Ministry of Health delivered a proposed Action Plan and Budget for what would be necessary to complete the First Phase that they have prioritized in trying to address this project. This First Phase includes a number of communities that Thirst Project has not yet been able to take action in, in providing access to safe clean water, sanitation, and hygiene. This phase also includes some overlap in communities that we have already completed Needs Assessments in, but had not completed actual projects in. If there is anything encouraging or exciting about this situation relative to our space, if there is any silver lining, it is that it has accelerated the rate at which other people are prioritizing getting access to safe water, sanitation, hygiene to these communities on the ground who need it most.
Early in the morning on Wednesday, April 1st, the Thirst Project U.S. Team had a call with our ESwatini Country Director to review the call for help from the Ministry of Health as well as the Ministry of Natural Resources so that we fully understood what it was that they wanted to do in terms of taking action and what it was that they were asking for in terms of help and support. Following the conversations with our Country Director, we agreed that we would answer the call by providing $100,000 USD, in the form of support towards various line items in the Budget that the Ministry of Health had submitted to help reach those goals. Again, we will be contributing to this collective effort alongside contributions from the Swazi government itself and other NGOs/stakeholders’ support as well to help the Ministry of Health execute this First Phase to go out in the communities and re-emphasize Hygiene Training if there have already been completed projects there, re-emphasize the Hand Washing and Hygiene training there if those communities have already been taken through it, and provide any additional material or supplies if necessary to go into communities that have not yet been reached with water, sanitation, & hygiene, to take them through not only Hand Washing & Hygiene Training, but specifically Hand Washing & Hygiene Training with the integration of added/heightened emphasis relative to COVID-19 and the steps needed to be taken to ensure prevention for that, as well as by providing actual physical materials, installing water tanks with spigots as Hand Hashing Stations, providing Hygiene Kits including soap and sanitizer, and other necessary materials on the ground. 

This issue isn't just affecting us in the United States.

2.4 Billion People on our planet lack access to basic sanitation facilities.

All of Thirst Project’s ESwatini Team members are willing to go through the additional training from the Ministry of Health to know what types of standards and protocol they need to adhere to in terms of not only protecting themselves and their own health, as they utilize different PPE and other training and methods, but also to make sure that as they go in and about communities and interact with people as they work with installation and training, as they work with interface with suppliers, and work and interface with other people on this project that they are safe and that they keep their community safe. Again, the last thing anyone who is participating in this project wants to be is a vector carrying the virus from one place to another, least of all to the most vulnerable communities in the world.
After we assist in providing both the financial assistance we are going to provide as a first wave contribution, as well as our Team’s manpower & physical contribution which will support all the local volunteers, local health motivators, and government health workers, we will then turn our attention in the coming month or two, to what we would classify as “our own” Thirst Project communities that may not have been covered in that process. Those being communities that we had either already completed water projects in who may need additional support in resources for hygiene and hand washing, or, additional elevated training specifically related to COVID-19, as well as communities that we have completed Needs Assessments in but had not yet completed actual projects in that were not reached or covered in the Ministry of Health’s first wave/First Phase of support. We will then begin our own Second Phase of support to try and carry on that exact same work of building Hygiene and Hand Washing Stations, providing supplies and elevated training in communities that are most vulnerable.
Paramount to the success of this is not only our own Team’s training for that elevated standard of practice and protocol for what proper PPE to wear, how to go about engaging safely with communities, etc., but also every stakeholder and participant in the space. We are making sure that we outline rigorous Standards & Protocol for our Team to adhere to, to protect themselves and the communities we work with. As the situation develops we will keep everyone posted, but as of now, we are choosing to answer the call of the Ministry of Health, provide this first $100,000 contribution to resource & support their plan, relative to the procurement of those water tanks, the installation of those water tanks, and those hygiene kits including soap and hand sanitizer, and the provision of our own Team Members’ manpower to help in the implementation of this plan to work alongside the Ministry, along with the elevated safety training for their safety for hygiene as well as the communities themselves.

100% of all public donations to Thirst Project will be directed to our COVID-19 relief fund until further notice.