ADDIS ABABA- Addis Ababa Mayor's Office has formed coalition with private sector companies and non- governmental organizations and launched a project dubbed 'Tenachin Bejachin!' Which literally means 'Our Health is in Our Hands!' last week with a total potential value of six million USD to support 1.2 million COVID-19 vulnerable population in the metropolis.
The project is expected to help people living in highly dense communities that struggle with access to water, soap, and other compounding challenges. Member manufacturing companies will commit to zero profit for the first six months of the project and ensure retention of employees. In return, the coalition will guarantee cost recovery for operating expenses relating to manufacturing of the critical items.
With the launch of the project, the coalition will oversee the manufacturing and distribution of facemasks and soaps, installing of water tankers, and deployment of behavioral change education to address the needs of 1.2 million vulnerable population and reinforce broader efforts to fight the pandemic.
Two private firms, namely Dalberg Group and Roha Group have taken the initiative to organize the first of its kind public- private- partnership in an effort to add sustainable impact to the national response to COVID-19. The one million USD required for the pilot project was secured by Roha while the remaining five million of the funds will be secured from donors,
private sector players, and non-governmental organizations that are expected to join the coalition.
The coalition also plans to introduce a unique business model that will assist in the manufacturing and distribution of critical sanitation and protective products to high-risk communities and at the same time ensure businesses cover their costs and retain their employees.
The Government of Ethiopia, through the Ministry of Finance, lifted value added tax on items manufactured for the project, with the aim to support private businesses in their efforts to contribute to the fight against the pandemic.
The initiative has so far identified and engaged 15 local manufacturers and signed a MoU with Addis Ababa City Government Administration as well as Save the Children.
It was stated that the Block-Based Community Engagement Agency within the Addis Ababa City Administration Mayor's Office has identified 24,934 blocks within the city to collect vital statistics and data including vulnerability status. It has also built 1,357 resource banks within the 121 woredas of the 10 sub-cities where donated materials are collected and distributed.
A local NGO, Save the Children Ethiopia, provides the coalition technical guidance, leadership and support regarding communication and community engagement. Another home-grown NGO, Mary Joy, has engaged with the coalition as a fund management and impact assessment partner to monitor and evaluate the pilot of the project before scaling up, it was learnt.