Support women in Upper Egypt produce medical masks

June 3, 2020

Women are working to fight the virus, the current production of masks in Qena is less than 4,000 masks per day. Photo by ENID

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Egypt in partnership with the UNDP Alternative Finance Lab (AltFinLab) and Neya Foundation, have launched ‘Kemama’, a campaign to support the Egypt Foundation for Integrated Development (ENID/EL Nidaa) in raising funds to expand their production of medical masks in Upper Egypt. The Kemama campaign is part of the Solidarity Against COVID-19 campaign aims to engage communities in supporting local solutions to this global crisis.

In the midst of the global pandemic, demand for medical and personal protective equipment has reached unprecedented levels. While these shortages are felt globally, it threatens the most vulnerable. In Upper Egypt, the market gap for medical equipment is growing. Qena alone has 3.2 million people needing 100,000 masks a day to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Since the outbreak of the virus and to respond to the growing need for masks in Upper Egypt, ENID has quickly shifted their operations at their factory, funded by the Big Heart Foundation, in Al Meana village in Qena from producing ready-made garments to medical masks.

UNDP Egypt’s Resident Representative, Ms. Randa Aboul-Hosn outlined the importance of the Kemama campaign to protect Upper Egypt from COVID-19, she highlighted that “A multisectoral whole-of-society approach is crucial to face the challenges to the health sector and beyond, to limit the spread of COVID-19 and to mitigate the potentially devastating impact it may have on vulnerable populations and the economy. Supporting ENID means fighting the virus, and more employment and income generation opportunities for people, particularly for women and a direct contribution to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals”.

Dr. Heba Handoussa, Managing Director of ENID/El Nidaa stated that "El Nidaa Foundation is proud to have been one of the first NGOs in Egypt to produce face masks in response to COVID-19. Our women beneficiaries in Qena insisted on braving the pandemic and breaking their lockdown to contribute to the fight against the virus. For production to expand, we need more machines, more raw material and more of our women trainees to operate the new factory floors that are available”.

ENID has trained women in Qena to produce high-quality masks at competitive prices who have already created 16,000 masks to date. In addition, through workshops across 17 villages, more than 600 women are trained and ready to produce more masks, providing vital personal protection equipment and directly contributing to the mitigation of COVID-19. At the foundation, while women are working to fight the virus, the current production of masks in Qena is less than 4,000 masks per day. Currently, they are the only source of medical masks in the South of Upper Egypt. 

Hana El Sadat, Founder & CEO of Neya, highlighted the need to work together to bridge gaps of resources especially during times of crises. “Access to personal protective equipment for everyone is of the upmost importance to fight COVID-19 and ensure the health and safety of all Egyptians. Neya provides a platform to channel all available resources, to collectively create value and thus have the greatest impact in improving the conditions for all Egyptians. We are proud to have partnered with UNDP Egypt on Kemama to ensure collective action is taken to fight the pandemic and ensure sustainable development while leaving no one behind”.

Kemama supports these women to boost their production capacities and distribute the masks needed to protect Qena and neighboring governorates. For every 5 LE raised, the women in Upper Egypt can produce 2 more masks, helping protect one person for a day.

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Join Kemama campaign online by using: #TogetherAgainstCOVID19 #Kemama

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