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

28 July 2020:

Build It has been working in Zambia for over ten years and we know our work makes a real difference to many peoples’ lives. We are determined to continue to deliver on our mission, both during the pandemic and beyond, and live by our values.

While some countries are steadily emerging from lock-down, in Zambia the situation is less clear. Although recorded cases remain low, there is a growing concern that the pandemic is accelerating. A young population may mitigate impact, but much remains unknown.

Back in March, we set ourselves three objectives:

1. To ensure the safety of our staff and our trainees. Most have since been working from home or following new safety measures implemented on our construction sites.

2. To ensure that Build It emerges from this global crisis in a sound state and able to resume our full programme of our work. We expect our 2020 income to be down by around 10-15% on 2019. As a result, we have trimmed our outgoings and put in place contingency plans should our work continue to face disruptions into 2021. I’d like to thank all our supporters for the generosity and commitment they have expressed over the past few months.

3. To adapt our work to play our part in responding to this crisis and support the young people and communities we work with. With challenges come new opportunities, and we are pleased to have launched two new initiatives:

Our Distance Learning programme is enabling trainees to continue with their learning at home when they are unable to come into the Centre for Excellence.

Our Safe Hands programme is supporting schools to reopen safely. We aim to build permanent, group hand washing facilities at 18 schools training some of our graduates to help build these new facilities. Find out more about our Safe Hands appeal

We are delighted that the Centre for Excellence re-opened on 27 July, with trainees gradually returning on site. This is a very welcome but cautious first step towards re-establishing our full programme.

But we remain vigilant. The coming months will continue to be challenging, but I can assure you that we remain firmly committed to building brighter futures in Zambia.

Andrew Jowett OBE, Chief Executive


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

Safe Hands workshop for local schools

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 Officer, Ministry of […]

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 […]


Together we are #BuildingBrighterFutures in Zambia