ISSRAR in 360 degrees: Tour a constructed wetland design
25 August 2020

COVID-19: Prevention and response in Al Azraq, Jordan

ISSRAR Aids in COVID-19 Recovery


Following international and national efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has partnered with the ISSRAR consortium to provide different forms of health protection to the local community in Azraq — helping to reduce the spread of the virus and its related health effects, and to soften the immediate existential economic impact on the most vulnerable members of the community. ISSRAR contributes to the provision of clean water, sanitation and hygienic conditions (WASH), which are of paramount importance for the protection of human health in all infectious disease outbreaks. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the ISSRAR team has helped support vulnerable groups through Cash-4-Work activities to renovate water and sanitation facilities in all governmental schools in Azraq, so that they comply with the required hygiene standards while transitioning back to normal.

Field Assessment of Schools


In all Azraq schools, field assessments were carried out using a checklist of all facilities and services related to water, sanitation and hygiene. The facilities were illustrated to indicate the damaged and non-functioning items. Meetings were held with school principals to include additional comments and notes that were reflected in the drawings. A bill of quantities was then created and distributed to the local building materials stores in Azraq for pricing.

Rehabilitation of School WASH Facilities


The ISSRAR team, in cooperation with technicians from the local community, carried out rehabilitation work for water and sanitation services and facilities in ten government schools in Azraq which host 3,493 students including refugees and 330 teachers. Rehabilitation included structural, mechanical and electrical work such as plumbing, welding and painting. Instead of rusted steel tanks, new, safe water tanks made of glass fibre reinforced plastic (GRP) were installed. Humidity and water leakages were identified, fixed and sealed. Damaged items have been replaced with high quality and robust new items. Accessibility, functionality and privacy have been addressed to ensure usable, sanitary and child-friendly WASH facilities. All water and sanitation services and facilites in all Azraq schools have been sterilised to ensure a healthy environment when students return to school.

Local Market Support and Cash-for-Work


The local market was badly impacted by the economic crisis following the COVID-19 pandemic. ISSRAR has supported the market by considering local building material stores for the supply of the necessary rehabilitation materials. To support the groups that are most directly affected by the COVID-19 crisis, the team assigned daily engineers, trainers, professionals, technicians and workers on a Cash-for-Work basis to carry out the rehabilitation work – employing 56 daily workers on 96 contracts. Geographical and cultural diversity was taken into account in supporting local markets, while cross-cutting issues such as gender and ethnicity were taken into consideration when supporting vulnerable groups with cash for work.

Installation of Water Coolers in Schools


In the hot and dry climate of Azraq, students in schools suffer from the absence of cold, filtered drinking water. The ISSRAR team provided each school with a 117-litre water cooler fitted with high-quality filters, for which spare parts are available in the local market. In collaboration with local technicians, iron cages were designed, painted and installed to protect the coolers from vandalism.

Raising Awareness of Good Practices


To promote healthy student behaviour and clean environmental practices, the ISSRAR team in accordance with international guidelines designed and placed posters to promote hand washing and give instructions on how to do it properly. The team also designed and distributed teacher manuals to educate students about behaviours and practices related to water and sanitation as well as personal, environmental, and social hygiene.

The ISSRAR consortium has partnered with the SDC to provide different forms of support to the local community in Azraq to help reduce the spread of the virus and its related health and economic impacts

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