The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created innumerable hardships that the world must endure together. But it has also brought out the best examples of human kindness and innovation. WCN’s Conservation Partner, Grevy’s Zebra Trust (GZT), is doing its part to help during these trying times by making cloth face masks to protect the community.
This sort of thoughtfulness comes naturally to GZT, who already helps local communities in northern Kenya through several programs, including its Nkirreten Project. This initiative empowers women in the Wamba region of Samburu County, Kenya, to both protect Grevy’s zebras and establish economic opportunity through the production of reusable sanitary pads. These biodegradable pads help women in the region generate income and ensure girls do not miss school because of a lack of sanitary pads. The program also raises awareness for endangered Grevy’s zebras by using black and white zebra stripes printed on each pad. Now, GZT is pivoting this program to tackle the spread of COVID-19.
To help contain coronavirus transmission, GZT and its network of local Samburu women will be making free face masks for their community. These masks are also reusable and will retain the iconic zebra stripes to continue drawing attention to Grevy’s zebra conservation, as well as to raise people’s spirits. The Nkirreten Project reaches 20 schools in Samburu, although schools are currently closed due to the quarantine. GZT plans to extend it to an additional 20 schools later this year. Members of each school and their communities will be receiving free face masks as GZT continues its good work, producing about 700-1,000 masks per week.
Even under stressful circumstances, it’s important to find ways to help and bring hope to each other. GZT and the women of the Nkirreten Project are leading by example to shine light in the darkness and keep their communities healthy, united, and engaged with wildlife conservation.