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

30 September 2020:

Six months into the COVID-19 pandemic and, like everybody else, we are learning to live with the new normal, both in Zambia and in the UK.

For many people in Zambia, where two-thirds of the population are living in poverty, life is much as it always has been – a struggle to make ends meet. It is not clear whether or not the country is through the first ‘wave’, but schools have re-opened, markets are busy and there are large gatherings of people. Thankfully mortality rates do appear to be staying low – possibly due to Zambia’s young population but much is unknown.

We remain vigilant and with a number of safety measures in place, we are steadily increasing our programme of work:

  • In late July, we resumed our Training into Work programme at the Centre for Excellence, delighted to welcome back our young trainees. With a reduced number of learners on site, our new distance learning materials continue to provide additional support to our trainees.
  • In September, we resumed our community building work with the start of a new project at Light of Hope Community school and additional facilities at Katombora Reformatory School.
  • The response so far to our Safe Hands appeal has been amazing. It has enabled us to start the construction of hand washing facilities in at least 18 local schools, helping to keep children safe for years to come.

In the UK, our fundraising team continues to keep in touch with our fantastic community of supporters, as well as finding creative ways to expand support for our work – take a look at our Walking with a Purpose and watch out for exciting developments from our Young Professionals Board.

We know our work makes a huge difference to peoples’ lives. We are determined to continue to deliver on our mission, both during the pandemic and beyond, remaining firmly committed to building brighter futures in Zambia.

Andrew Jowett


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

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 […]


Together we are #BuildingBrighterFutures in Zambia