Despite the economic complexities that came with lockdowns precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigerians managed to pull through. Albeit barely. Especially in a country like Nigeria where more than 40% of Nigerians live on less than $1 a day. It’s easy to fully grasp how, even in the face of health risks, people cannot afford to spare any money for personal protective materials for themselves and their loved ones.
This is why laudable efforts to provide support by private businesses are commendable. My World of Bags (MWOB), a bag design and manufacturing company, and the Mastercard Foundation, have partnered to create the Project SafeUp initiative, which kicked off in November. The initiative is a joint effort to promote health safety for Nigerians amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by producing and distributing free Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) across a series of states.
According to a statement, Project SafeUp’s donations come at the heel of a second wave of COVID-19 in Nigeria and across Africa. There have been reports of a new strain of Coronavirus in the UK, Italy, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia, as well as in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Oceania. Germany instituted a nationwide lockdown that will be effective till January 10, 2021; Greece requires permission in text before residents can leave their homes! While in Nigeria, there have also been unconfirmed reports of a new strain as the government is considering imposing some new restrictions on international flights. In other words, PPE is integral to the safety and health of Nigerians at this point in time.
Beyond the physical PPE materials, Project SafeUp has also been sensitising locals about the virus and the importance of protective measures, by using handouts, and catchy and informative multi-ethnic radio jingles, across multiple radio stations in Oyo, Lagos, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti dialects.
Commenting on the PPE donations to schools and hospitals in Lagos, Ekiti,, Osun and Oyo States, Sinmi Olayebi, Director of Social Programs at FemiHandbags said, “Communication is our greatest tool in the fight against the pandemic. No one is left out in the fight for survival, and that certainly includes our grassroot communities. We have to meet them right where they are, to ensure that we can pass on our critical messaging of health and safety at this time.”
Project SafeUp intends to continue building awareness on the impact of the pandemic, while encouraging the adoption of safe health measures by members of the public.