Fighting together: IITA stations respond with innovations
With the outbreak of COVID-19, CGIAR-IITA has placed a particular focus on working with governments in sub-Saharan Africa to strengthen their food systems to combat and win against the scourge of this pandemic. Aside from this holistic response from the Institute, IITA stations in different localities have come up with various innovative solutions geared towards helping their immediate communities to cope with the fallout of the outbreak. Fighting COVID-19 in Benin:
Street handwashing systems for bike riders and pedestrians
Streets are meeting points for most individuals, as people must move from one end to another for their various activities. Hence, streets could become hotspots for COVID-19 contamination and spread. To limit the spread of this virus in the community, IITA-Benin on 4 May, launched a street hand washing system in the Calavi neighborhood of Cotonou, Benin. This system is designed for easy and quick hand washing of street users such as bike riders, pedestrians, and even vehicle users.
In the case of Benin, the targets for this prototype installation outside the IITA-Benin fence were primarily taxis well known as “Zemidjan”. The idea of this simple but efficient “drive-in” washing device was spurred by the need for each IITA location to come up with innovative solutions to address the pandemic. IITA Molecular Entomologist and Head of the AgroEcoHealth Platform in Cotonou, Rousseau Djouaka, developed the solution with the technical assistance of the Head of Facilities Management Services (FMS), Gontran Honfoga, and the FMS team.