7 April 2020

REACH & COVID-19 | A message from the REACH Directors

Dr Katrina Charles and Prof Rob Hope

The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly changed the world in the past month. At REACH this is having an impact on how we work. We have just held our annual meeting, which normally would have been a wonderful week of catching up and sharing our research. This year we adapted our annual meeting to go online, an experience many of us are getting used to for all types of conversations. 

We will support safe working conditions for our REACH teams, recognising the struggles they are facing of managing their own health, worrying about their family’s health, home-schooling children, and well as dealing with uncertainty in this changing world. For now, REACH staff from across our partner organisations in all countries are working from home, and keeping in touch, where possible, using online tools.

This means that there is a pause in our fieldwork, but not in our research or engagement. Water security is critical at this time more than ever, especially for the poor. And there is already mounting evidence in the case load from developed countries that the poorest in urban areas are at higher risk of exposure due to their living conditions and the jobs they do. 

Water security to address the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t just sufficient water and soap for handwashing, a privilege that many people don’t have. It is being able to access water for domestic and productive purposes, without putting yourself at risk. 

Over the coming weeks we will share experiences from our team and our research on the pandemic and response in different contexts. Until then, stay safe, stay home and wash your hands. 

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UK Department for International Development Parliamentary Under Secretary of State

'Access to water is a defining challenge for the 21st century. The UK has already helped 43 million people to access clean water, but there is far more to be done.'

© 2020 REACH