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Actis Acts: Supporting Senegalese communities through COVID-19

Shami Nissan

by Shami Nissan
Head, Responsible Investment
London

Actis Acts: Supporting Senegalese communities through COVID-19 Image

COVID-19 is an unprecedented global challenge but, like many crises, the most impoverished are disproportionately affected. The communities around Azura Power’s Tobene power plant in Taiba N’Diaye are highly vulnerable and ill equipped to cope with an outbreak. Prevention is essential as controlling the spread and treating patients is an enormous challenge alongside other associated problems, such as famine in an agriculturally dependent community.

Actis Acts in partnership with Azura is supporting these communities in Taiba N’Diaye in this fight against COVID-19 and to build greater resilience to deal with future crises. The project is raising awareness about the virus and good hygienic practices as well as empowering women and young people, providing skills and tools to increase their revenue and diversify beyond agriculture. 

Some of the initiatives Actis Acts and Azura Power are working on together include: 

- Teaching women and young people how to manufacture soap using local products, and then to package, market and sell it, skills that will endure beyond the project  

- Providing income generating activities all year long, for example selling products such as body cream 

- Raising awareness of the importance of hygiene and health through radio and print campaigns

- Installing soap washing stations with thermometers in key public areas, such as markets, health centres and schools and in front of houses 

- Establishing a tailor association for the local community to make masks for local communities and the fire brigade. There were previously 3,500 masks (of which only 500 are regulated) for a community of over 28,000 people. There is also potential to make uniforms for Tobene Power employees instead of importing them

- Providing food supplies for 350 of the most highly vulnerable households

- Involving young people and women in the fight against COVID-19 by including them in decision making and a strategic stakeholder engagement

We are also collaborating with Lekela’s Taiba wind farm (another Actis energy platform) on community initiatives, further scaling our impact.

www.actisacts.org

Actis Acts is Actis’ foundation supporting charitable activities linked to Actis investee companies, local charities and humanitarian crises affecting regions where Actis operates. It embodies our values by seeking to leave a positive and sustainable impact on the communities surrounding our investments. To date, we have committed c.US700,000 into 11 projects.