COVID-19 pandemic

Our response

“Courage and collaboration are the Build It values coming to the fore…

Now more than ever, we remain committed to building brighter futures in Zambia.”

Andrew Jowett OBE
Chief Executive

20 January 2021:

We continue to closely monitor and react to the COVID-19 situation in Zambia and the UK. 

Since mid-December, the number of cases in Zambia has risen rapidly and the health authorities have confirmed the outbreak of a second wave dominated by the South Africa variant. Testing remains limited so the full picture is unknown, but hospitals are full and the situation is serious.

Schools were due to reopen on 18 January but will now remain closed until at least 1 February. This is so they can put in place COVID-19 mitigation measures. However most schools do not have the resources to do this, which is why our Safe Hands initiative is so important.

As a result of the current situation:  

  • Build It staff are working from home where possible. 
  • Our Centre for Excellence is now closed to learners. This is in line with other educational institutions. New groups were expected to start on 15 February, but this is now in doubt.
  • We are preparing to expand the distance-learning programme that we started last year.
  • Construction works continue at our projects at the Centre for Excellence, Light of Hope Community School and Katombora Reform School, with strict rules to keep everyone safe on site. This includes additional hand-washing facilities, face masks, fewer workers on site and daily Health and Safety briefings with a focus on COVID-19. 
  • We are looking at how to expand our Safe Hands programme having built 21 hand wash stations at 13 schools to date, as well as distributing vital supplies including face masks, soaps and disinfectant.  

Our Fundraising and Communications team continue to share news with our amazing community of support and explore new ways to meet with you online. If you were unable to catch our recent Insaka event you can do so here. 

The coming months will continue to be challenging, but we know our work can still make a huge difference to people. We remain firmly committed to building brighter futures in Zambia and be led by our core values: empowerment, excellence, courage and collaboration.

Please stay safe, wherever you are. 

Andrew

Andrew Jowett

 

Our latest news and developments around the COVID-19 pandemic:

Helping schools to reopen safely

22 January 2021. The reopening of schools across Zambia after the Christmas holiday has been delayed by two weeks until 1 February. This is due to the rapid increase in cases of COVID-19. The Zambian Government says that this two-week period aims to allow schools to put in place measures to help protect learners and […]

Graduation celebrations

15 January 2021. Due to the pandemic we have been unable to hold our usual graduation ceremonies, but we managed to finish 2020 with some mini celebrations. It was an opportunity celebrate the hard work and achievements of our trainees, plus a chance to catch-up and see how they’ve been doing during this difficult year. […]

Challenge completed!

18 December 2020. Thank you to everyone who took part in our recent Star Jump challenge raising £850 for our Safe Hands appeal. Set by our Young Professionals Board (YPB), the challenge ran on social media throughout November. Beth Vuckovic is a member of the Board and explained what they hoped to achieve: ‘The Coronavirus […]

Double the numbers at Naluyanda

1 December 2020. Work continues through our Safe Hands programme on the construction of permanent hand wash stations in local schools. These new facilities enable more children to wash their hands at the same time. This will help the school to manage and integrate hand washing more frequently into their daily timetable. At Naluyanda Community […]

Hustle and bustle at the Centre for Excellence

6 November 2020. After seeing the Centre for Excellence close for four months earlier in the year due to the pandemic, it is fantastic to see so much activity and energy on site. Four groups of trainees are currently with us at the Centre. The trainees attached to the new Build It office continue to […]

Ten hand wash stations nearing completion

4 November 2020. Construction of hand wash stations at Bissell and Naluyanda Community Schools are nearing completion thanks to your support. This will take the total to ten new wash stations so far. Through our Safe Hands appeal, we are building permanent, hand wash stations at 18 schools with space for 18 children to wash […]

Star jump challenge!

29 October 2020. Our Young Professionals Board is throwing down the gauntlet in November encouraging people to take up their fundraising challenge: The challenge: 500 star jumps in 5 days How to take part: Donate £5 to Build It and post a photo of yourself having completed the challenge on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter – tag Build It and tag five […]

Hand washing stations completed at Moomba Schools

2 October 2020. As well as supporting schools we have worked with in the past, our Safe Hands Appeal is an opportunity to expand support to other schools in the local area. Situated just over 4km from our Centre for Excellence, Moomba Primary and Moomba Boarding Secondary Schools are large, Government run schools with a […]

New hand washing stations for the children at Kamaila

25 September 2020. Schools are reopening in Zambia and thanks to your support, children can safely return to their classrooms. Through our Safe Hands appeal, the first group hand washing stations have been built at Kamaila Primary and Secondary schools. The stations allow 18 children to wash their hands with clean water all at the […]

Safe Hands workshop for local schools

17 September 2020. We recently arranged a one-day workshop for teachers and school administrators on preventing the spread of COVID19. Held at Shifwankula Primary School, 24 representatives attended the session from across the 11 schools who recently received supplies as part of our Safe Hands appeal. Facilitated by Mrs Winfridah W Mulenga (Senior Health Promotions […]

Children at Machaya teach us how to stay safe

3 September 2020. Our Community Development Team has been busy continuing the distribution of vital supplies to local schools in the Chibombo and Chilanga districts as part of our Safe Hands Appeal. The team visited Munkolo Primary School, as well as re-visiting schools that we have recently worked with including Machaya Community School, Kamaila Primary […]

New skills, new facilities

27 August 2020. Six Build It graduates are receiving additional training as part of our Safe Hands programme to build group hand washing stations in local schools. It means new skills to help them find work; it means new facilities to improve the health of children in their communities. The six graduates will be divided […]

Supplies to schools

21 August 2020. As well as building permanent hand washing stations for local schools, your generous support to our Safe Hands appeal means we can also provide some more immediate help to schools. Our team has been busy delivering supplies to Shifwankula Primary and Secondary Schools, Moomba Primary and Secondary Schools and Muwanjuni Primary School. […]

Safe hands at Shifwankula Secondary School

5 August 2020. Many schools in Zambia do not have enough or adequate hand washing facilities, vital in the battle against COVID-19. Schools like Shifwankula Secondary School. Situated 10km from our Centre for Excellence, this large Government run school has 1,424 pupils from grades 8 – 12. Its Primary School has 3,556 pupils registered. We […]

Training resumes at the Centre for Excellence

5 August 2020. Following a successful inspection by the Zambia National Public Health Institute, we are delighted to announce that training at our Centre for Excellence has restarted. “After nearly four months away, it’s great to welcome our trainees back to the centre,” said Sughra Hussain, Build It Country Director. “Safety is paramount, and we […]

COVID-19: Zambia update

3 August 2020. Africa currently accounts for only a small proportion of total global cases of COVID-19 in terms of overall numbers, but there is growing concern that infection rates are accelerating in many countries across the continent. Zambia confirmed its first two cases of COVID-19 on 18 March 2020. Although Zambia did not go […]

Building our distance learning programme

29 July 2020. With generous support from Irish Aid, our distance learning programme has been helping our trainees keep up with their studies at home. Feedback and participation has been very encouraging, with trainees happy to be able to continue their training. Video lessons continue to be produced by our Training Team and loaded onto […]

A cautious reopening of schools, colleges and universities

23 June 2020. Our young trainees are making good progress with their distance learning programme. Each week new lessons and tasks are uploaded onto the tablets by our Training Team, as well as information on COVID-19 to help keep trainees, their families and their communities safe. Training onsite at our Centre for Excellence currently remains […]

Clean hands are safe hands

18 June 2020. Washing your hands regularly with soap and water has been a key health message in the battle against COVID19. But lack of adequate and appropriate facilities means that for many people in Zambia, this just isn’t possible. We have been looking at how we can adapt our work to play our part […]

Lights, camera, action… on our distance learning programme

28 May 2020. With training at our Centre for Excellence still on hold due to the pandemic, we want to keep our trainees motivated and their new skills fresh in their minds. Our Training Team have been working on our distance learning pilot which will go live next week. It was felt that a series […]

COVID-19: Zambia update

19 May 2020. On 8 May President Edgar Lungu announced that cinemas, restaurants and gyms in Zambia can reopen, and that hotel and lodges can also consider getting back to normal operations. The President said that bars and taverns will remain closed, and that strict health guidelines should continue to the observed. Schools and education […]

Update from our Chief Executive Andrew Jowett

30 April 2020. I hope this message finds you and your family well during these challenging times. In the short video below, I explain how we are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and taking action to ensure that Build It comes through this crisis fit to continue our vital work.   As of today, the […]

Safety on site

29 April 2020. Schools, cinemas, bars, gyms and many shops in Zambia are closed, with restaurants only providing take-away services. The authorities have asked people to avoid non-essential travel. However Zambia is not in lock-down and businesses continue to operate. Construction work continues on our two current sites. Finishing touches are being put on the […]

New opportunities through distance learning

29 April 2020. Our training at the Centre for Excellence was put on hold from Friday 20 March 2020, in line with the temporary closure of all Zambian schools and learning institutions. Three groups of trainees had started their training with us at the centre. Many of our young trainees have already face significant challenges […]

Move to short-time working from May 2020

23 April 2020. We are taking a range of decisions to ensure that Build It emerges from this global crisis in a sound state and able to resume our full programme of work. The Senior Management Team and the Board have updated the Business Continuity Plan with a number of key actions, including reducing costs. […]

Zambia and COVID-19

16 April 2020. With a fragile and very limited healthcare system, there is serious concern that COVID-19 could have a catastrophic impact on lives in Zambia. With COVID-19 particularly impacting on the elderly, Zambia’s young population may reduce fatalities, but factors like malnutrition and weakened immune systems due to high prevalence of HIV could make […]

Training paused at the Centre for Excellence

15 April 2020. Training at our Centre for Excellence in Lusaka was put on hold from Friday 20 March 2020, in line with the Government directive for educational institutions. We are keeping in contact with the 60 trainees learning through the centre and look forward to welcoming them back as soon as possible. It means […]

COVID-19: Our response

27 March 2020. Message from Build It International Chief Executive Andrew Jowett: In these unprecedented and challenging times, I’d like to bring you up to date with how Build It is responding to the disruption and uncertainty. Courage and collaboration are the Build It values coming to the fore at the moment and I am […]

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Together we are #BuildingBrighterFutures in Zambia

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