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  • Field Ready

Sometimes safety arrives in a box

This spring and summer we were privileged to deliver thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment to various Kenyan community groups - in many, many cardboard boxes.

The deliveries were part of our "Protecting The Frontline" program to help prevent further spread of COVID-19 and other diseases in four countries - Bangladesh, Kenya, Iraq and Uganda. We partnered with Needs List and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team to help match frontline workers who need personal protective equipment with local manufacturers in those countries who can make it for them.

With support from Creating Hope in Conflict: a Humanitarian Grand Challenge, the program has helped protect more than 250,000 frontline workers who are trying to prevent disease spread.

Aided by Community Development and Sustainability Orgnaization (CDS), we distributed 3,000 bar soaps, 2,100 KN-95 face masks, 500 surgical gowns, 100 liters of liquid soap, hundreds of hand sanitizers and nine Jengu handwashing stations. The items were delivered to groups in Nairobi as well as in the Cheptais, Mt. Elgon-area in Kenya near the Ugandan border.

The items will be used for frontline workers at local hospitals, schools, government offices and organizations that serve women, youth and displaced people.

All of the PPE and sanitation items were made by local manufacturers, several of which are refugee organization-supportive.

The foot-operated Jengu handwashing stations were made by Fablab Winam, a Kisumu-based makerspace that encourages people to learn new technologies, explore entrepreneurial ideas and build innovative designs. Collaborators BRC and Arup designed the handwashing stations.

Demand for the PPE remained strong in a regions where COVID-19 infections are still spreading. Groups such as Youth Voices Community in Nairobi - a refugee-led organization that aims to build awareness of refugee youth experiences in developing their self-reliance - distributed their PPE items quickly to eager community members. The group hopes to secure more items soon to provide more protection to more vulnerable people.

"We were able to distribute over 600 soaps and 3000 face masks and sanitizers!" Youth Voices shared in an Instagram post. "Even though it looks like the COVID pandemic might end soon, many people are still vulnerable and need to be protected! Thank you for your support. Together we can do much more!"

Field Ready team members in Kenya, Bangladesh, Iraq and Uganda have facilitated the manufacture and made deliveries of more than 500,000 pieces of PPE since the program began in 2021.

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