EAA and their Partner Factories Are Pivoting the Production of Medical Scrubs & PPE
As some of our loyal followers and readers may remember, we spoke to Carly Beischer, Director of Sales and Partnerships for Ethical Apparel Africa (EAA), last month. During our interview we focused on the incredible work EAA is doing as a whole and merely touched up on how the company adjusted its plans for 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been following EAA’s work closely during the course of this last month and were extremely excited to receive this incredibly positive update from Beischer a few weeks ago – and we couldn’t wait to share this story about the response of West African factories to COVID-19.
“Ethical Apparel Africa is a sourcing company shaping the future of the apparel industry in West Africa, and is committed not only to catalyzing export growth but to ‘getting it right from the start,’ building an industry that prioritizes people as well as profits. Our partner factories go ‘beyond compliance’ – providing workers with meals, transport, and health education – and are committed to transparency and continuous improvement. EAA’s work has been recognized by the London Stock Exchange, Common Objective, Ashoka, and Forbes.
To combat global shortages, sourcing company Ethical Apparel Africa (EAA) is working with its factory partners in Ghana (KAD Manufacturing, Alfie Designs and Maagrace) and Benin (ANC) to pivot manufacturing to essentially needed apparel and personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare providers. EAA has mobilized funding and support from multiple donor agencies to enable production of over 50,000 sets of scrubs meeting international performance and quality standards. The scrubs are being distributed to Ghana’s hospitals at reduced cost levels in close coordination with Ghana and Benin Governments and are also available to be exported to the US, UK and Europe. A portion will also be donated to the public hospitals in Ghana and Benin fighting the crisis there.
EAA is also investing to build PPE production capability in Ghana, with a focus on manufacturing medical grade masks to meet international testing requirements and certification. This surgical mask production unit will be the first of its caliber in Ghana -- providing a reliable source of supply for medical-grade masks to protect healthcare providers.
Alongside providing medical clothing and PPE locally, EAA is working to deepen existing and develop more long-term relationships with U.S. and UK medical apparel buyers - supporting them to access West African production capacity and diversify their supply chains. This pivot has enabled the factories to avoid the widespread disruption seen in other garment producing regions as they continue to provide their employees with safe and secure employment through this crisis. EAA partner factories together employ over 700 individuals, 70% women, whose incomes are relied upon by their families and communities. The factories are focused on safeguarding workers’ wellbeing through targeted initiatives in sanitation, cleanliness, health education and transportation support.
In addition to strengthening the resilience of the clothing manufacturing industry, these efforts directly address Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo’s call to action to develop local manufacturing capabilities towards self-sufficiency in essential product categories. In late March, the President of Ghana said, “We know how to bring the economy back to life. What we do not know is how to bring people back to life.” Ghana has been lauded for its early preventative measures.
This coalition of partners - Ethical Apparel Africa, donor agencies, KAD, Alfie, Maagrace and ANC - is working to contribute to this success story by pivoting local industry capabilities -- preparing for what could come in the future, as well as safeguarding livelihoods. Support for elements of these programs has been provided by USAID, DFID and GIZ who are all committed to supporting industry resilience, strengthening healthcare providers’ preparedness for pandemic response, promoting private sector growth and facilitating trade. To learn more about EAA visit our website https://www.ethicalapparelafrica.com/press-contact or follow our CEO on Twitter: @kerenlong @EthicalApAfrica.