Women-Led Tech Start-Up Creates Digital Tool to Combat COVID-19 in Developing World
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As COVID-19 moves to parts of the world with few tools to stop it, this woman-owned business, born in Austin and Kenya, is joining the fight to slow the spread. Well Beyond, a technology company for the water sector with unparalleled success in the developing world, has just launched their smartphone app for organizations serving rural communities in developing regions everywhere.
“The communities we work with through our clients may not have sinks, soap, and medical infrastructure, but 34% of young adults in Kenya do own a smartphone,” said Well Beyond’s Founder and CEO Sarah Evans. “We can use those smartphones to train and guide these communities to better protect them from the spread of the coronavirus – even in the most vulnerable places. And, we’re offering it for free.”
This life-saving mobile technology deploys interactive WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) training. It is filling the gap between sanitation recommendations and the tools and knowledge available in often remote, rural places by providing vital sanitation training, guidance on creating DIY soap and handwashing stations, real-time chat support, and other tools to help communities prevent the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, Well Beyond’s nonprofit partners will be able to track training completions and collect data on the solution’s success. This is allowing organizations and users to better ensure and measure impact – a needed feature for the water sector.
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This month, the UN Economic Commission for Africa projected more than 300,000 Africans could lose their lives due to COVID-19. Developing world governments, in alignment with the WHO, emphasize that basic, preventative measures by individuals and communities remain the most powerful tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but delivering this critical information has been a challenge, as movement within countries is very limited.
“To put it into perspective, this isn’t about teaching people to wash their hands long enough, it’s about building the sink and making the soap to do it with. We will continue providing crucial guidance and support to these communities, even though we aren’t physically able to be there.” said Well Beyond’s COO, Kathryn Bergmann.