Training for success
Updated: Oct 5
Learning a new skill can be intimidating. But for 28 women in Kenya's Kakuma refugee camp in September, learning to make healthcare items was filled with hope and promise.
Field Ready staff helped train the four groups of women to make hand sanitizer, face masks and our Surprise Soaps so they can establish businesses. Most of the trainees are widows who are the sole support for their families.
Kakuma, which sits in an arid and isolated region of northwest Kenya, is home to nearly 200,000 refugees. Even without the pandemic, it's a challenge for aid agencies to provide residents with basic services - so the personal hygiene and PPE items the groups made will have an eager customer base. The items are especially needed now to help prevent COVID-19 spread in the camp.
Two of the groups - the Light group and the Tunaweza group (which means "We Can" in Swahili) - made 75 liters of hand sanitizer during the training. They were led in the training by Innocent Havyarimana from GLAP Enterprises, a business based in Kakuma. Havyarimana, a Burundian refugee and former chemistry student, formed GLAP (short for God Loves All People) in 2015 to support himself and help other refugees learn a valuable skill and provide needed items.
The other two groups - the Women Power group and the Tumaini group (which means "Hope" in Swahili) - began making 1,500 cloth face masks and will make a total of 3,000.
All the items were ordered by the National Council of Churches of Kenya, which will distribute them to clinics within the Kakuma camp.
"Everyone in the groups was very enthusiastic about the training," said Field Ready Manufacturing Engineer Angela Mangi, who helped guide the sessions. "They were also very interested in learning to make bar soap and shampoo, so they are already thinking about expanding."
The trainings are part of our "Protecting the Frontline" project, which connects people and organizations who need PPE in Bangladesh, Iraq, Kenya and Uganda with those who make it to help prevent COVID-19 spread and improve local economies. The project, a joint venture between Field Ready, NeedsList and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, is supported by Creating Hope in Conflict: a Humanitarian Grand Challenge.
If you want to get, make or donate PPE in any of the above four countries, please visit makeitlocal.org. Please stay tuned for more project updates in the coming weeks!