South African petrol company Engen has launched a campaign to educate local communities on safety measures to curb the spread of the COVID- 19

Engen is branding 35 spaza shops across the country with important personal safety measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus.

The petrol company’s public education drive sees the walls of the popular township convenience shops, converted into educational murals, with the South African petroleum industry leader remunerating the spaza shop owners for the media space.

The visual safety and hygiene messages in vernacular languages stress the importance of regular hand washing, social distancing, covering one’s mouth when coughing and sneezing, and regular disinfecting and cleaning of surfaces, amongst others. Spaza shop owners have also been provided with safety materials, including information brochures and hand sanitizer for their own and customer use, as well as given training about safety and hygiene measures so that they can help educate their customers. To extend the awareness campaign and reach as many people as possible, Engen will also broadcast safety and hygiene messages on 40 digital screens in townships across Gauteng and the Western Cape.

According to Khalid Latiff, Engen’s General Manager of Corporate Strategy and Communications, Out of Home (OOH) communication is being used to drive deeper safety awareness, especially in densely populated areas such as townships and informal settlements, whose residents might not have access to social and traditional media channels.   “We have acted with urgency in the fight against the pandemic by converting our existing OOH platforms, which we usually use for paraffin safety messaging into COVID-19 educational billboards,” says Latiff.

“The refreshed spaza shop wall designs now carry easily understood messages in a variety of languages, depending on the area, and create much needed awareness about the importance of safety and hygiene. Creating this safety awareness is only one part of our investment, adds Latiff.“This initiative also aims to provide small business sustainability support to the spaza shop owners through compensation for media space, which we hope will support their businesses by helping them with their cash flow and ensure that they are able to survive the national lockdown and prosper beyond it.”

The 35 spaza shops branded with COVID-19 safety messaging by Engen are located in:

 Gauteng -Soweto, Alexandra

17 Spaza Shops KwaZulu-Nata (Umlazi, KwaMashu)

5 Spaza Shops Eastern Cape (Mdantsane, Ebhayi)

10 Spaza Shops Western Cape (Langa, Khayelitsha):

According to the latest statistics from the health ministry show that South Africa has to date recorded 8,232 confirmed cases of Covid-19, which has claimed 161 lives, while the recovery cases recorded from the virus stands at 3,153 according to the (WHO) World Health Organization.