In Mozambique, Communities are Sewing Face Masks to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19

The efforts are proudly being covered by the Save the Children Mozambique Sponsorship Program, and all thanks to the generous support of our child sponsors.

As the first case of coronavirus was beginning to make headlines in late December, 2019, approximately 6,000 miles away, resettlement sites in Sofala Province, Mozambique were simultaneously being overwhelmed by heavy rains and floods. The severe weather damaged more than 3,675 shelters damaged and wiped out roughly 500 homes. This, less than 10 months after Cyclone Idai and Cyclone Kenneth left a trail of destruction across parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi.

At the time the World Health Organization had declared COVID-19 a pandemic, nearly 100,000 people across Mozambique were living in makeshift shelters. As can be the case with disasters, women and children bear a significant brunt of the disaster, as they spend more time caring for the elderly and young. Displacement and disasters also create additional risks of children, especially girls, being vulnerable to exploitation, separated from their families, and dropping out of school.

Now, as the pandemic continues to spread globally, Save the Children is particularly concerned about the possible spread of the virus to countries experiencing instability, where the impact could be more severe and an outbreak could overwhelm health systems, causing greater impacts on children, families and communities.

In Mozambique, Save the Children has been helping children, families and communities through sponsorship programs since 1995. Sponsorship programs, by working with local communities, help children thrive—every day and in times of crisis.

In response to the growing threat of COVID-19, community members in the district of Nacala Porto, Mozambique began the local production of 2-ply cloth face masks. Wearing a face mask in public settings is one of the ways the CDC recommends to help slow the spread of COVID-19. (Please note that the CDC states that cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing or those unable to remove the mask without assistance.)

The costs of face mask production are proudly being covered by the Save the Children Mozambique Sponsorship Program, and all thanks to the generous support of our child sponsors. The cloth face masks are being sewn using sewing machines and fabrics participated in Save the Children’s adolescent development programs in the region, which focus on skills-building and micro-business development.

As 2-ply mask production keeps going, next steps include working with government authorities to design a 3-ply model of face masks that can be used in local health institutions.

For the local community, it’s essential that these masks are being produced by young community members and in full view of the community members. Doing so can help provide a level of reassurance that can work to combat misconceptions about coronavirus and how it’s spread. Save the Children knows, based on our work to help stop the spread of Ebola, that with the wrong approach, fear and suspicion could overwhelm the fight against disease.

Learn more about Save the Children’s sponsorship programs around the world as well as our global response efforts to help children stay healthy and protected in the face of COVID-19

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