COTONOU, October 16, 2020 – The United States Government is supporting 40 entrepreneurs in Benin to promote handwashing and affordable sanitation and hygiene products as part of its support to COVID-19 response.
Through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States is working with the entrepreneurs to promote and sell their products to limit the spread of the virus. Produced locally, the products include affordable handwashing stations, hand sanitizer, toilets, disinfectants, and masks to expand access to disease prevention tools.
Through the entrepreneurs, the United States will donate 250 handwashing stations to 120 primary schools to benefit 72,000 children with improved hand hygiene. The entrepreneurs will install 450 handwashing stations in markets, community centers, and hospitals across 21 communes. Complementing efforts by the Government of Benin and municipal authorities, the entrepreneurs will educate people about good hygiene practices while demonstrating the quality of their products. Additional products will be available for sale by the entrepreneurs for people who have seen the sanitation devices and are interested in purchasing one for their homes or businesses.
“What I want to do is to raise awareness [of healthy practices] and take the opportunity to talk about hygiene and sanitation products and handwashing,” said Aimée Gbahoué, one of the sanitation entrepreneurs in Aplahoué, Kouffo Department.
In supporting private suppliers like Gbahoué, the United States will address the need for affordable products to prevent the spread of COVID-19, while supporting local production, employment, and business in Benin.
“Through the U.S. Agency for International Development, the United States is working with the Government of Benin and the private sector to expand populations’ access to sanitation and hygiene and thus promoting health. This is a partnership. A partnership between governments and between peoples, because everyone must work together to end this pandemic. It also includes the private sector and entrepreneurs,” declared U.S. Ambassador Patricia Mahoney.
For more than a half century, the United States has been the largest contributor to global health security, contributing more than $140 billion in global health assistance in the last 20 years. In Benin, the United States committed more than $4.5 million to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and $25 million in health assistance in 2020.