14.10.2020

Masks: protection against the virus and job preservation

How Invest for Jobs supports the textile industry in Senegal and preserves jobs during Covid-19 

The United Nations fear that the corona pandemic could put one in two jobs in Africa at risk. Many industries and companies are struggling with a declining demand for their products and services due to corona-related restrictions. In Senegal, the Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation is therefore helping to preserve jobs.

"When the pandemic reached Senegal in March, we had to stop our work because our employees were no longer able to come to the tailor shop," tells Sophie Nzinga Sy. She leads the association Women in Fashion, which, in cooperation with Invest for Jobs, is currently setting up the Dakar Design Centre, a creative center in Dakar that aims to train around 300 young people and create 200 new jobs. 

With the spread of the virus in the country, tailors have seen a significant reduction in orders as nobody wanted to spend money on clothes anymore. The government’s obligation to wear masks also posed a problem, as on the one hand there were not enough masks and on the other, they were too expensive for many people.

In cooperation with the Special Initiative, Women in Fashion was able to maintain operations in 50 tailor shops in Dakar, Kaolack and Casamance. In total, the tailors produced 20,000 masks for families in need and 1,000 bed sheets for under-provided hospitals treating Covid-19 patients. In order to make sure that the masks complied with the standards of the National Standards Organisation (Association sénégalaise de normalisation), Women in Fashion made a short video for the tailors, explaining how to sew the masks correctly.

The project helped to maintain around 100 jobs in the textile sector and to protect the population from a further spreading of the virus.

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