Silafrica, a manufacturer and supplier of plastic and packaging solutions has partnered with the Kenya National Federation of Jua Kali Associations (KNFJKA) to cushion informal sector workers from job losses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
To that end, Silafrica, group executive director, Akshay Shah and KNFJKA chief executive officer, Richard Muteti have signed a memorandum of understanding ( MoU) on a Covid-19 resilience programme that will see informal sector workers enter into mass production of low-cost personal protective equipment.
“Many people have lost their livelihoods and this MoU comes at a perfect time as it is set to reverse some of the damage caused by the pandemic .It is very rare you find the big boys [Silafrica] come to work with the small boys [informal sector],” said Richard Muteti.
Kenya’s informal sector which roughly employs 15 million people has been critically affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Under the MoU, Jua Kali tailors will produce personal protective equipment (PPE) from special pre-cuts made by Sila Africa targeted at low-income population. The PPE are made from a material approved by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) in accordance to the World Health Organization (WHO) regulations.
“This is a whole new process involving new technologies and way of doing things and could grow into a new market space since there is limitless possibilities on what could be made from the stretcher material, which is 100% recyclable” said Akshay.
The protective gears are produced using heat-sealing method as opposed to sewing. They are therefore air tight, hence reducing the chances of transferring germs.
This new approach allows for rapid adoptions of new products as sealing is at least nine times faster than sewing , hence trying out new products will take relatively much less time.
With the material being 100% recyclable, Silafrica is once again setting the pace for other plastic packing solutions companies towards achieving a global circular economy. It is the first company in Africa to partner with Ellen MacArthur Foundation to share in their commitment to eliminate plastic waste and create a sustainable future for our planet. Since the onset of Covid-19, Silafrica has been at the forefront in fighting the pandemic by offering cheap, efficient and effective hygiene solutions. These include low-cost PPE, hand wash stations and toilets. The MoU is part of the bigger Kenya Ni Sisi campaign.