By Chioma Obinna
Project SafeUp, a partnership between My World of Bags, MWOB, and the Mastercard Foundation, has distributed over one million free Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, to schools, Nongovernmental organisations, markets and health facilities across five Western states and few northern states in the last five months. The Western states are Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, and Ekiti.
The project seeks to boost coronavirus awareness, distribute much-needed PPE materials across South-West Nigeria and other areas in need, destigmatise the virus and give COVID survivors a platform to share their stories
In October 2020, MWOB retooled its factory to focus on the production of PPE and established key partnerships with micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Its target was to produce and distribute over 2.5 million PPE across southwestern Nigeria and any other areas in need across the country.
In the first four weeks, Project SafeUp distributed over 100,000 PPEs comprising reusable non-surgical masks, face shields, gowns, scrubs, shoe and head covers to beneficiaries in Lagos, Oyo and Ekiti States. By February 2021, it had reached the 600,000-item milestone.
Over the past few months, thousands of students, teachers, health workers, vulnerable populations, traders and various local communities have been beneficiaries of this project. . The project drivers understand that over 82 million Nigerians live on less than $1 a day and are unable to afford the necessary protective equipment to curb the spread of the virus.
Director of Social Programs, FemiHandbags/My World of Bags, Sinmi Olayebi, said: “We acknowledge this milestone but realise it is a mandate to further accelerate our efforts. We will truly begin to realise the effects of the work we are doing when every citizen, starting from our primary focus areas in the Southwest, is COVID-literate.
“And more so, when they apply that literacy to adopting strict safety measures such as social distancing, handwashing and the use of PPE to drastically check the spread of the virus and contribute to eventually eradicating the virus.”
Noting that the vaccines provide little comfort, Olayebi said Project SafeUp continues to sensitise the grassroots with preventive measures through relatable languages, personalities and platforms that can change their orientation towards the virus.
In the past few months, the project has leveraged the media, blogs, OAPs, influencers and social media platforms in its sensitisation efforts.
“Notably, its creative multi-ethnic jingles preach keeping a safe distance, avoiding crowded places, washing hands frequently, and using face masks. They are rendered in English, as well as Pidgin and Yoruba across five states in the southwest to ensure the target audience gets the message.
Project SafeUp will also be distributing many more batches of protective equipment in the coming months, in order to meet its 2.5 million item target.