Impact of Hand washing facilities on local businesses in Malawi: A case of Fatima

Impact of Hand washing facilities on local businesses in Malawi: A case of Fatima
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Malawi, Fatima’s business was greatly affected. Fatima is a 24-year-old woman from Traditional Authority Katuli, in Mangochi District. She is a small-Scale businesswoman, who cooks and sells Mandazi (Fat cakes) and Zitumbuwa (Banana cakes) at Katuli local market. Katuli is a boarder market between Malawi and Mozambique as such before COVID-19 pandemic, most of Fatima’s customers were foreigners and passers-by. With the government-sanctioned lockdown and restrictions as COVID-19 preventive measures, Fatima lost most of her customers. Fatima had been a daily market goer but following COVID-19 awareness campaigns in her area, she rarely visited the market for fear of contracting the virus.

As part of promoting adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures such as hand washing through USAID Titukulane in collaboration with Mangochi District Council distributed hand washing facilities with soap in hotspot areas in Mangochi including Katuli Market. According to Fatima, this was a great initiative because it provided an environment where market would continue functioning with preventive measures of Covid-19 in place. Fatima felt free to keep going to market to carry on her business activities.

“Being a small-scale business woman, money changing hands is part of my daily life, having this washing facility close to us, I am able to conduct my business with general awareness of adhering to Covid-19 preventative measures of washing my hands frequently. Now at least I can come to the market and feel safe since the market continues to function and the washing facilities are accessible to everyone. We can still live and not die, and we say thank you.”

Without this effort being made Fatima would have been left without a job and or scarce income. It is with these great efforts made through partnerships like EI Malawi, USAID and the Mangochi District Council that Emmanuel International can assist in combating insecurities like Fatima had to provide a safe and secure means of operating her business.

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