Handwashing Stations for Navajo and Hopi Communities
Soaring Rates of COVID & Lack of Access to Running Water Put Native Communities at High Risk
Navajo Nation has one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the country, per-capita. Please help us reduce this number and protect valuable lives by improving access to handwashing in communities without running water.
One the best preventive measures for stopping the spread of COVID-19 and staying healthy is thorough handwashing. Yet, for many families living on the Navajo and Hopi Nations, doing so on a regular basis is a tremendous challenge due to the lack of running water in their homes. It is estimated that roughly 40% of Navajo homes lack running water, and a sizable portion of Hopi homes, as well.
It is recommended that people wash their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds, but when you have limited water supplies this can be a real challenge. Generally, most homes already have a method for securing water, whether this be hauling it themselves or having it delivered. They also have some type handwashing system in place, but they tend to be small, perhaps only a basin of water that is shared by multiple family members numerous times.
What is needed most is running piped water to every home in need, but this a massive undertaking that will take decades if not longer to implement. What is needed in the interim, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and help with improving general hygiene, are easily accessible, durable, and high capacity handwashing stations. Fortunately, the nonprofit LavaMaeˣ (https://lavamaex.org/handwashing-for-all) has developed a DIY design and toolkit for a station that allows for up to 500 handwashings with one fill-up of the unit-pictured below.
Our goal is to raise enough funding to facilitate the construction of 100 units. At an estimated cost of $300 each we are hoping to raise a total of $30,000.00 Our plan for construction of the units is to use volunteer and homeowner labor. We will be organizing small work parties here in Flagstaff, taking all necessary safety precautions, but are also hopeful that with the easily accessible design and step-by-step instructions, we can build an army of folks who are willing and able to help, wherever they may be.
Since first posting this idea on Facebook, we have had over 40,000 views and numerous requests for assistance. Many homeowners are merely asking for the parts so that they can assemble the units independently. We do not pretend this an easy undertaking, nor that we have every detail solved. Procurement of materials alone poses significant challenges, but we cannot sit idly by and do nothing. We must act, and we must do so now.
Both financial contributions and volunteer labor are needed. Please help however you can, and we ask that you share this campaign widely with your family and friends. By acting quickly and collectively, we will make an impactful contribution to the health and safety of Hopi and Navajo communities during this time of crisis.
5/30/2020: PROGRAM UPDATE
Yesterday, we hit our initial goal of $30,000.00, but the demand for handwashing units keeps increasing so we are keeping the campaign open. We are also exploring other ways to assist the communities with water access, such providing an alternative smaller handwashing system (for those who don't want the larger system) and coordinating water storage and delivery for those in need.
We have been blown away by the outpouring of support from compassionate individuals located all over the United States and even from abroad. While we cannot single out everyone here, please know we are so grateful to all of you!
It has taken us some time to ramp up our capacity, but things are starting to move along now. Global shortages (due to COVID) for some of the materials needed in the construction of the handwashing systems has presented some hurdles, but we are addressing these as fast as we can.
This past Saturday we held our first volunteer event, with an awesome crew of 10 individuals who put together 18 units. We are scheduling out more volunteer days over the coming weeks so please call us at 928-440-5119 or email [email protected] to sign-up. We absolutely cannot do this project without your help!
Units Being Delivered to Families: