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Emergency Trust Fund for Africa
News article27 May 2020

Innovative protection: from cotton facemask to 3D-printed face shields

Innovative protection: from cotton facemask to 3D-printed face shields

“It’s almost midnight and I found time to have dinner just now. What I do, my craft is my passion. Providing creative solutions gives me so much joy”. Ndey Fatou Njie’s enthusiasm is still fresh after a long day.

She has joined hands with a group of young fashion entrepreneurs and women groups in rural Gambia who are working hard to give back to their communities by turning towards producing facemasks.

Three training centers supported by YEP where youth acquire tailoring skills are now coming handy to help meet the urgent demand for protective facemasks.

This support to entrepreneurs and institutions is not only creating opportunities to mitigate the economic impact but also reinforcing COVID-19 precautionary measures for the public.

Innovative protection: from cotton facemask to 3D-printed face shields

In addition to hand made facemasks, Make3D Company Ltd, is producing and testing 3D printed protective gear in partnership with the Medical Research Council (MRC) Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

YEP Tech supported the procurement of 3D printing materials and equipment. The protective equipment will support MRC in its work with plans and plans are under way to extend the support to other medical facilities.

These efforts will go a long way in containing the infection and building resilience in rural areas in the country with an opportunity for everyone to give back to communities.

The COVID-10 health and socio-economic crisis has hit The Gambia very hard and it will take time to recover.

Meanwhile, the creativity, leadership and entrepreneurial drive of young Gambians give a glimmer of hope in the midst of the crisis. The youth engaged in responding to COVID-19 situation have developed their capacity to engage with communities with support from the Gambia Youth Empowerment Project.

Innovative protection: from cotton facemask to 3D-printed face shields

The project is implemented by the International Trade Centre and is part of the Tekki Fii – Make it in The Gambia Program, a flagship initiative of the Government of The Gambia and the European Union with the aim to reduce migration pressures through increased job opportunities and income prospects for youth.

YEP takes a market-driven approach and enhances employability and self-employment opportunities for youth, with a focus on vocational training and the creation of micro and small-sized enterprises.

At the same time, the project creates and improves employment opportunities in selected sectors through value addition and market linkages.YEP focuses a number of traditional sectors such as agriculture and tourism.

The project also helps diversify the Gambian economy by supporting ‘new’ sectors, including the creative and digital services industries.

YEP is funded through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.


Publication date
27 May 2020
Region and Country
The Gambia
Greater economic and employment opportunities
ITC - International Trade Center

Programmes in the region