West Africa: A Stitch in Time

Dienabou Yansané had never used an electric sewing machine before. She also has a hearing impairment. None of this however has dampened her drive and ambition. She is training hard to become an accomplished tailor. Soon her dream will come true and she plans to put her skills into use sewing cloth masks.

Although a tailor by training, Mariame Dialloas was also new to the electric sewing machine. When the coronavirus hit, she knew she had to upskill to serve her community.

"At the moment, I produce about 50 masks a day. The training has helped me quite a bit," she said.

Diallo and Yansané's training has enabled them to produce washable and reusable cloth facemasks. Their products meet the international standards for barrier masks.

With the high demand for masks to protect against COVID-19, the training programme is tapping into the expertise of professional tailors producing masks.

Tailoring offers a promising job sector for youth in Guinea. It increases opportunities for young apprentices. They not only acquire a skill but also get a good grasp of entrepreneurship and become suitable candidates for jobs.

Over 140 tailors will be engaged to work in various centres with the training initiative that is set to bring in 24 professional tailors and 120 young apprentices.

Approximately 85,000 cloth facemasks are being stitched and distributed to those in need of immediate protective measures. The training initiative is a joint effort of the Guinean government and the INTEGRA programme.

The youth ministry has provided 100 electric sewing machines and the International Trade Centre's team is helping us improve our skills so that the masks are good quality," says Diallo.


Through INTEGRA , the International Trade Centre is providing fabric to make 30,000 masks and train at least 50 aspiring tailors through the Taouyah Youth Centre.

The Government of the Republic of Guinea and the European Union launched the 'Support programme for the socio-economic integration of the Guinean youth' (INTEGRA) to enable economic opportunities for youth.

Funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, INTEGRA seeks to tackle economic root causes of irregular migration, supporting entrepreneurship and job creation at the grass-roots level and providing opportunities for growth.

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