Mere’s story | A woman who rose to the challenge to protect her community against COVID-19

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Mere’s story | A woman who rose to the challenge to protect her community against COVID-19

Meet Mere she is a health worker in the Malevu Village in Fiji. Like many front-line workers, Mere has been protecting her community in their fight against COVID-19. The realities of living through a pandemic can be a worrying and traumatic experience for many people, especially those living in rural and remote locations where access to affordable and quality healthcare is limited.

Mere Raika shares: “… After the Habitat Water, Sanitation and Hygiene training I learned about handwashing and I straight away taught my family first.”

Since Habitat for Humanity Fiji’s staff held training in Malevu not only has Mere taught her family about handwashing she has led awareness sessions with children and adults throughout the community. Mere has worked tirelessly to spread the message during Sunday School lessons, village meetings and also to the women’s group that handwashing can help save lives.

Since completing her Water, Sanitation and Hygiene training with Habitat for Humanity Mere has noticed a huge change in handwashing practice from children and adults alike:“Over here everyone didn’t really wash our hands [before] … I now notice adults and even children washing their hands after toilet and eating.”

While Fiji is currently COVID-19 free, community-based WaSH projects being carried out by organisations like Habitat for Humanity Fiji are critical in making sure this doesn’t change.

Habitat for Humanity Fiji, through funding from the Water for Women fund, is working with change agents, including community health workers, in 18 communities and 11 schools within the Ba and Ra provinces in Fiji to promote resilience and inclusion through improved WaSH services. In partnership with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) and Habitat for Humanity Fiji and Water for Women, we are able to support women like Mere in communities in Fiji.