Zimbabwe is set to receive one million face masks from Mask UP Africa, a recently-launched coalition of African creative industry professionals, to help curb the spread of Covid-19.
The initiative will benefit all African countries.
The coalition comprises groups such as the Africa Film Academy and the Osigwe Anyiam-Osigwe Foundation in partnership with Joyce Banda Foundation International.
According to one of the project co-ordinators, Peace Anyiam-Osigwe, the initiative draws inspiration from Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame. “His Excellency, Paul Kagame, once said ‘Africa’s story has been written by others; we need to own our problems and solutions and write our story,’” she said.
“As Covid-19 continues to ravage the world, most countries have been compelled to ease their lockdowns due to economic pressure.
“We are now in the community transmission phase and that is why most African governments have made it mandatory for everyone to wear masks before leaving home.
“But the fact is that 422 million Africans, who live below the poverty line of US$1 per day, cannot afford a mask.
“That is why this campaign is important, especially as statistics have shown that wearing masks does curb the spread of the virus.”
Mask Up Africa spokesperson Ms Oyin Talabi said clusters of tailors on the continent had begun coming together to start production of the masks.
“One million masks per country are going to be produced,” she said.
“This, we believe, is a way to empower SMEs and help build our various internal economies as we invest in small businesses, which are the backbone of any country.”
The coalition is campaigning in support of wearing face masks.
Other coalition partners include Mambokadzi African Media and Entertainment, Charles Granville Company, Femmes et Prisons d’Africa, Pan African Film and Arts Festival, AFC Pan African Consortium, Bodyworks Nigeria, The New Mind, Truliving Africa and BBB Media.