The GTC-Bring Back Their Dignity beneficiaries (a project which is being supported by WMI-microgrant) have started to make facial masks in response to COVID-19.
During the initial spread of COVID-19 in Rwanda, wearing a facial mask or other personal protective equipment was optional. However, with the continued spread of the virus, the government has announced that it is a must to wear a mask when going out to buy basics needs.
Due to the skyrocketing number of COVID-19 cases in the Rubavu district of Rwanda, it remains in total lockdown. Therefore, these masks are much needed in this primarily poor rural district, which borders the DRC and its large number of COVID-19 cases. One of the main consequences of this pandemic is that people have lost their jobs and are unable to afford their basic needs, much less facial masks. The N95 mask is the most effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19, but they are not available and surgical masks are single-use and expensive. Thus, homemade facial masks are the best alternative.
GTC is addressing this need through its COVID-19 Rapid Response Project, which is currently being funded by Wells Mountain Initiative and several individuals. Beginning in May, GTC-Bring back Their Dignity started making facial masks for the Rubavu District community. Thus far, 4000 facial masks have been made. The masks have been distributed to community members and COVID-19 health messages and hygiene tips taught. We hope that this project will contribute to defeating this pandemic and an eventual return to normal life.