Australia Alumni Associations contribute to the fight against COVID-19


Photo: Launch of KAAA COVID-19 response

Australia alumni associations are scaling up their relief activities and delivering vital assistance to fight COVID-19. From installing handwashing stations and community sensitisation to providing masks, disinfectants, soap and protective equipment, associations are supporting vulnerable people, within their communities.

Kenya Australia Alumni Association (KAAA) is working with local partners in semi-arid areas of Laikipia County. Through the support of the Australian Government, the association is supporting Chui Mamas, a community-based self-help group, with a membership of 355 women. The association has partnered with World Vision and Kenya National Industrial Training Authority to supply hand washing equipment, face masks, soap and personal protective equipment to Chui Mamas.

At the launch of the COVID-19 response project, Australian High Commissioner to Kenya Ms Alison Chartres commended the association for its efforts to end the pandemic. “The Australian Government recognises the unique perspective and voice that rural communities, many of whom are women and young people, contribute to social and economic development in Kenya,” said Alison. “We are aware of the many challenges they face and are proud to note that our alumni have made efforts to support, reach out and be part of positive change in their communities.”

The association is also working with Chui Mamas to boost the production of cloth masks. All the members of the group are currently producing and selling face masks to sustain their families.

“The commitment to partner with fellow alumni in supporting Chui Mamas speaks to the UN Sustainable Development Goal 17 on partnerships for sustainability,” said Dorothy Masinde, an Australia Awards alumna and the Senior Manager, Strategy Realisation and Operations at World Vision.

Across the borders, Tanzania Australia Alumni Association (TAAA) is supporting people with disabilities by providing hand sanitiser, soap and specialised handwashing facilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Working in partnership with the Australian High Commission and Tanzania National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR), the alumni association has installed ten handwashing machines, provided hygiene kits and distributed information at Kivukoni bus terminal and Machinga complex, Dar es Salaam. Over 500 people with disabilities are direct beneficiaries of these preventive measures.

Speaking during the installation of the handwashing machines, the TAAA President Dr Charles Makasi appreciated fellow alumni and partners for looking at the plight of people with disability during this pandemic.

“The project has provided personal protective equipment and helped in addressing challenges people with disabilities encounter in the fight against COVID-19, “We are grateful to the Australian Government’s support and NIMR for coming on board and promoting health education and personal hygiene practice to people with disability,” Dr Makasi says.

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