As part of its ongoing commitment to support communities during the coronavirus pandemic, PIDG TA provided 22 TA grants and 1 Capital grant to PIDG projects to support COVID-19 responses, with a total commitment of USD1.633 million.
Through its COVID grants PIDG TA has
- directly supported 28,000 workers to stay in work through the provision of safety equipment and procedures,
- provided 10,000 people with access to water and hand washing facilities and
- reached nearly 100,000 people with vital health messaging on how to stay safe and limit the spread of the virus.
Some of the communities which have directly benefitted from this support are those surrounding the EAIF Azura-Edo project in Nigeria.
In 2014, PIDG company, The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), provided USD30 million in loans to Azura as part of the financing of a USD865 million, 450MW, power station in Benin City in Edo State, Nigeria. The construction of the power station began in 2016 and was completed in May 2018, ahead of schedule supplying 3.7 million households (approximately 22 million people) and numerous businesses.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, global demand for PPE has grown by a factor of 100 and prices are up to 20 times higher. While a global shortage of PPE is affecting communities around the world, the brunt has fallen on the fragile countries in which PIDG operates. The donation of medical and non-medical PPEs is helping to support the host communities to reduce the spread of the virus.
Azura and EAIF used PIDG TA grants amounting to USD101,237 to support Azura’s COVID-19 response by covering procurement and distribution of masks and of PPE and to cover the costs of the rehabilitation of four boreholes to access water, for the communities benefitting from the Azura-Edo project.
Facemasks and PPE have been distributed to approximately 4,000 people from the Azura Edo project communities. 3,200 facemasks were distributed, and another 800 facemasks were reserved for the community Primary School children when they went back to school.
Further medical PPEs were donated to the Orior Osemwende Primary Health Centre, including surgical hand gloves, surgical face masks, coveralls and hand sanitizers. In June, 2020, the Azura ESG team visited the host communities (the Idunmwowina, Orior and Ihovbor communities) to distribute PPE including re-useable facemasks.
Access to clean water is a key aspect of the COVID-19 intervention plan as it is a necessity for regular hand washing; a fundamental requirement of good hygiene practices advised by the WHO to prevent the spread of the virus. From the COVID-19 awareness campaign held in March, it emerged that there was very limited access to clean water in the nearby communities, primary schools and community centres. Azura engaged a construction firm (Willitud Nigeria Company Ltd) to assess this gap and recommend actions.
Four water projects (including, from the rehabilitation of the boreholes) located in the Ihovbor and Orior Osemwende communities reached 100 per cent completion in August 2020 and members of both communities now have access to the water provided. In the Ihovbor community, renovation of Ihovbor Primary School water was actioned, and this is expected to provide water for about 250 pupils and staff. The Ihovbor community water borehole was also upgraded, positively impacting about 1500 people. The Orior Osemwende community benefitted from the provision of a water well at Orior community Primary School which is expected to provide water for 200 pupils and staff, as well as the renovation of the abandoned Orior community water borehole which is expected to provide water for about 1000 people.
Emilio Cattaneo, Head of PIDG TA, speaking about the initiative says:
“We have been associated with the transformational Azura project in Benin City since its inception, and when the Covid pandemic struck, we consulted with our partners at the plant to identify ways in which PIDG could support the local communities and help to mitigate the effects of the virus. By providing funding for the rehabilitation of vital water infrastructure, as well as the supply of protective equipment, combined with an awareness campaign, we have enabled the Azura team on the ground to provide much needed support in these difficult times. PIDG are proud to have been able to assist in implementing these activities.”
Read more about the The Azura-Edo project, Nigeria