ROCKBlue’s response to COVID-19

First, we extend our wishes for your health and that of your loved ones. Too often we don’t associate a human face and emotions to statistics of the numbers of cases from this pandemic. But, of course, these statistics include loved ones. Such as our friends and family with compromised health. Or our parents, our grandparents and even our children. We are heartbroken by every single sick individual and those who have lost their lives. As well as their circle of family and friends.

We are now in a unified global battle to defeat this virus – each of us playing our small part. On behalf of ROCKBlue, we wanted to keep you up to date with our latest activities.

Upcoming Webinar

We had planned to host our second Performance Achievement Workshop Series this month in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe but had to postpone because of Covid-19. We did not want our workshop participants to miss out on this second workshop because of lockdown and travel restrictions. Furthermore, we realized that we could help our partner utilities by bringing in specialist on the topic of Financial Resilience and Covid-19.

This webinar will be held on the 16th of April and we are very excited and grateful to share that we have representatives from The World Bank, USAID, the Water Unite Foundation and the Development Bank of South Africa as presenters and panelists.

And thanks to the amazing talent in our Roster of Specialists we will also be sharing expert advice on Non-Revenue Water, Performance Improvement Planning and Business Continuity Planning.

Knowledge Management

We are using our Knowledge Management Initiative to

a) monitor information that is available and

b) distribute that which we view is factual and current to our utility partners in five countries.

We do this through social media. If you want to see past and present postings please go to our website, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Interviewing Specialists with Emergency Experience

We are busy interviewing those from our Roster of 100 utility Specialists for their experiences, lessons learned and tips on how to effectively deal with this pandemic (e.g., how to address services to high-density, informal settlements). We share these experiences directly with our utility partners and, time permitting, get the interviews onto our social media platforms. These interviews also help us determine which Specialists are available for specialized assistance to our utility partners, in addition to their assigned (point person) Specialist.

Answering COVID-19 Questions

With increased frequency we are being asked to answer specific COVID-19 questions, edit COVID-19 related documents and to make available documents and other resources to help the utilities we support mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.

Funding for our partner utilities

Access to funding in some cases will decrease and in other cases will actually increase due to this pandemic. In addition, our utilities are likely to see 20-40 percent decreases in revenue (which was insufficient to begin with) due to the economic situation of their rate payers. We are looking into alternative sources of financing for our partner utilities and are in contact with various development partners to determine what financial resources (short- and long-term) might be available to them.

Increased Support to our Utilities

For the most part our assistance is business as usual, even busier than usual, since our model is to provide (largely) “virtual” assistance. In that regard COVID-19 has had no impact on ROCKBlue’s operations. However, due to the added stresses and challenges on the utilities we support, ROCKBlue and its Specialists have increased support / communications with our utilities.

Monthly check in calls

Finally, we have monthly check in calls with all our utilities (along with their Specialists and local Resident Representatives) to monitor and drive improvements associated with their top 3-5 priorities.

Standing together!

Working together with our utilities, specialists, volunteers and your support, we are standing strong against COVID-19!