ADRA’s eDrive, a symbolic trip to Africa to help “world’s smallest lab” battle covid

The Czech chapter of the international humanitarian and development group ADRA has launched a unique “eDrive” charity event to support projects in Africa. The destination is the Cape of Good Hope, at the tip of the continent, a return-trip just shy of 34,000 kilometres long.

As the name suggests, ADRA’s eDrive campaign is a virtual one. But the “e” also stands for electromobility, as the charity drive is asking donors to travel the symbolic distance using electric cars, scooters and bicycles, if they have them.

The aim is to draw attention to sustainability in general and to raise money for operating what ADRA is calling the “world’s smallest mobile laboratory” for testing communicable diseases, first and foremost, Covid-19, says Karolína Emanuelová, ADRA’s head of communication.

Cape of Good Hope | Photo: Dieg Delso,  Wikimedia Commons,  CC BY-SA 4.0

“Anyone who wants to help Africa with us can take part in a vehicle powered by electricity or their own power… The goal is to reach the Cape of Good Hope, with stops in Zambia and Niger.”

ADRA selected those two Africa countries, she says, because they have been working there for a long time.

In Niger, among other things, the charity helps equip school classrooms and build deep wells to provide enough drinking water for the locals. In Zambia, ADRA is helping stop the spread of Covid-19, via the tiny mobile lab developed by the Czech Technical University, and detect other infectious diseases.

“A small lab can get to some of the least accessible areas of Zambia. And the project in Niger focuses on helping people who have fled from Mali, where the security situation is very poor.

“This has caused some problems for Niger, where we focus on building schools or helping refugee children through teacher training, so that they can also work with them on some psychosocial help.”

The smallest mobile lab in the world | Photo: Czech University of Life Sciences Prague

ADRA’s eDrive campaign, which wraps up at the end of the month, asks people to choose a stretch of the symbolic route that they want to travel, ranging from 40 to 100 kilometres, and to make a contribution accordingly, says Ms Emanuelová.

“We hope that enough participants will be involved to cover a enough kilometres with us and thus contribute sufficient funds for our help. We’ve had people interested in taking part using wheelchairs, even trams, which are also electric vehicles.

“We have about a hundred applications, so we’re halfway there. Maybe we’ve reached the Cape of Good Hope. But we need to get back, so we definitely need everyone to get involved.”

ADRA is encouraging participants to share their eDrive experience on social media, along with the designated hashtag #jedunamys. Those who do, could win a number of prizes from businesses taking part, such as a free electric car rental from E.ON, an annual pass to Nextbike.