During our last “Do No Harm” webinar, Ophelie Namiech from Mindset-PCS presented best practices and recommendations around effective and meaningful community engagement. She highlighted how during the COVID-19 pandemic, when we can’t access vulnerable communities, investing in existing local capacities is the only genuine way to achieve true resilience.
We decided to look at how our partner organizations are empowering local communities today by encouraging them to use their own strengths and opportunities to develop innovative solutions against COVID-19. We focused on the work of IsraAID, CultivAID, and Gabriel Project Mumbai, who are all supporting local face-mask production initiatives.
A FACE-MASK SOCIAL BUSINESS IN ETHIOPIA
In collaboration with the North Shewa bête-Israel community in Addis, Ethiopia, and local organizations, CultivAID is launching a new social business. They are establishing a mini-factory to produce face-masks. The initiative will not only produce protective gear for the entire community and help curtail the spread of COVID-19, but the factory will also create new job opportunities and generate profits that will go towards at-risk families.
TRAINING REFUGEES IN GREECE AND GERMANY TO PRODUCE FACE-MASKS
In Germany and Greece, IsraAID has established face-mask productions. In both countries, the purpose is to empower refugee leaders to support both refugee communities and host communities in need (elderly people, homeless people, SGBV survivors, Holocaust survivors in Germany), and to meet urgent needs for more masks.
GABRIEL PROJECT MUMBAI (GPM)
A WOMEN’S SEWING COLLECTIVE IN INDIA TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF COVID-19
Last year, Gabriel Project Mumbai launched Tribal Threads, a woman’s sewing collective for women living in slums and remote tribal villages in India. When COVID-19 hit, they transported all sewing machines to the homes of the women who are part of the collective. Together, they are making thousands of washable cloth face-masks that are being distributed to medical staff, police officers, and people living in the slums and under-served villages. They are now in the process of sewing 14,000 face masks!