UN supports COVID hygiene at Vanuatu markets

Vanuatu market vendors are getting help from the United Nations to operate in a way that supports COVID-19 cleanliness and hygiene measures.

As part of the support, the UN’s Market for Change Project gave goods such as signage, a hydraulic rubbish collection trailer, wheelie bins, cleaning supplies, face masks and thermometers to the Luganville Market earlier this month.

The UN Women Markets for Change Project Manager, Christina Bare Karae, says the UN COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund has supported the initiative.

She says the supplies provided to the markets are very important during the COVID pandemic so that markets do not become places where COVID can be spread.

She says the signage provided will explain to those using the Luganville Market how to do COVID-safe handwashing and how to greet or not greet others at the market.

The hydraulic rubbish collection trailer will help the market remove rubbish and keep the market clean; and the face masks will mean the vendors have reusable masks they can wash and reuse.

The thermometers will be used to test if vendors have high temperatures – which can be a symptom of COVID-19.

Markets in Port Vila and across Efate are also receiving the UN support.

Catherine Leo, Luganville Market Manager, and Jonathan Iavre, the Luganville Municipal Town Clerk, have acknowledged the importance of the Market for Change Project support.

Mr Iavre called on vendors to keep their market clean, to make good use of the new supplies and to take care of them.

“We should care for what we have been given because these supplies don’t just fall from the sky – they come through a process where others have contributed money so we can have access to these materials,” Mr Iavre said.

Mr Iavre also announced the Luganville Market would change its opening hours from six in the morning to four in the morning.

The UN’s Markets for Change Project brings together governments; market vendors and their associations; civil society organisations and other UN agencies across Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

The program supports the economic strength of female market vendors and is implemented by UN Women in partnership with the UN Development Programme and the Governments of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

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