On April 30th 2021, Akshay Shah, Group Executive Director of Silafrica, and Richard Muteti, the Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Federation of Jua Kali Associations (KNFJKA), signed a Memorandum of Understanding on a Covid-19 resilience programme set to result in more than 100 jobs in the informal sector.
The informal sector, which has in the past contributed to about 3.4 trillion to Kenya’s total output, 28% of the total national output, has been critically affected by Covid-19. 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]” stated Richard Muteti, impressed by the approach Akshay, the creative force behind Silafrica’s social impact projects and circular economy, had taken.
The MoU is on low-cost PPE production to cater the hygiene needs of low-income people who can’t access the available PPE due to their high prices. This makes them a highly vulnerable group not only for Covid-19, but also for other personal hygiene related infections. The PPE are made from a material approved by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) in accordance to the World Health Organization (WHO) regulations. Under the MoU, Jua Kali tailors are set to produce the PPE from precuts send to them by Silafrica.
“This is a whole new process involving new technologies and way of doing things and could grow into a new market space since there’s limitless possibilities on what could be made from the stretcher material, which is 100% recyclable” stated Akshay, referring to the heat-sealing method used in the production, as opposed to sewing, which results in an air tight PPE, further reducing chances of germs transfer. This new approach allows for rapid adoptions of new products as sealing is at least 9 times faster than sewing and therefore 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. Silafrica 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 of the fight against it by offering cheap, efficient and effective hygiene solutions. These include low-cost PPE, SIMTANK handwash stations and SATO toilet latrines. The main action however, is starting a media campaign to raise donations to enable availing the solutions at much more subsidized prices to areas of critical need. Find out more about this campaign on https://kenyanisisi.co.ke/.