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“Handwashing with soap is now a routine habit for us” says Kala Wati, 47, who has been a market vendor for the past twelve years at the Nausori Market in Fiji.

The Market is located just about an hour’s drive from Suva and is one of the largest markets in Fiji, catering to thousands of families from the Suva to Nausori corridor.

Kala sells vegetables at her stall and was one of the many market vendors who had to quickly adapt to the new COVID-19 precautionary measures in 2020.

“After the lockdown in Fiji, we followed all the precautionary measures – sweeping the floors inside the market, keeping our stalls clean, using hand sanitizers, face masks and gloves and most importantly using soap to wash our hands.”

In support of the Fijian Government’s COVID-19 response efforts, UNICEF Pacific, and UN Women, supported twelve markets in Fiji in the Western, Central and Northern Divisions last year through the Ministry of Local Government, Housing and Environment.

The market vendors received much-needed cleaning materials, hand sanitizers, garbage bags, detergents, and soap.

Juta Douglas, 42, has been a market vendor for eight years at the Nausori market.

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we did not have time to wash our hands frequently. Since then, people have started to take handwashing seriously. I now wash my hands frequently to keep myself, my family and friends safe” says Juta.

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