How Handwashing Stations in Rural Niger Removed a Spirit of Fear

By Send Relief Staff

Many nations in sub-Saharan Africa still struggle with a lack of information and fear around the COVID-19 pandemic.

For many families, especially those living outside major cities and metropolises, an unknown flu-like disease began wiping out respected elders, immunocompromised adults and children with little-to-no explanation. Because many villages have yet to gain access to reliable WiFi, major news outlets or international publications, the arrival of COVID-19 into their communities remained inexplicable months after much of the world was well informed on the risks and spread of the disease.

This fear snowballed into uncertainty and panic in many rural regions of Niger.

One pastor in Niger commented, “When the COVID-19 pandemic arrived here in our country, we were asking so many questions about how to obtain protective equipment for our church members. Many were confined to their houses and couldn’t go out looking for food due to the lack of masks, soap and clean washing water available to us.”

Send Relief worked with nine communities in Niger to help 3,000 people learn about COVID-19, gain access to hand-washing stations and valuable PPE in the last year!

Using churches as bases, trainings were held on the value of proper handwashing, wearing masks and social distancing measures. Send Relief was also able to post hygiene-related informational flyers that explained many of the communities’ unanswered questions about COVID-19 and how to properly combat it. In total, over 30 handwashing stations, 3,000 bars of soap and 3,000 reusable face masks were distributed!

These churches provided educational examples about how to reduce the chances of contracting and spreading COVID-19, improving their relationships with the neighborhoods around them. The trainings also significantly reduced fear for many.

One pastor shared, “With the support of Southern Baptists, Christians who were afraid before receiving hygienic materials are now restored and encouraged! Our church members became proactive in telling others in the community how to be safer, and we praise the Lord for the good partnership we have. We would still like you to pray for the Baptist churches in our villages to have a good witness and for the salvation of Muslims in Niger. Please also pray for the good news of Jesus Christ to continue changing the lives of unbelievers around us!”

Thank you for helping remove a spirit of fear from communities in Niger and for helping meet practical and spiritual needs in the rural regions of sub-Saharan Africa still struggling to manage the pandemic’s repercussions. We are so thankful for your support and gifts that made this project possible!

Published October 20, 2021

Send Relief Staff