COVID-19 PPE Maker Space
Project Launch: 8-5-20
MicroMek Community Group will train 20 local youths in digital fabrication of low-cost, reusable COVID-19 Face Masks and Face Shields using 3D printed parts and laser cut material. The six months training will equip the youth in Solid Works 3D modeling software for making 3D models of COVID-19 Face Mask and Head bands for Face Shields. The project will help facilitate the availability of masks locally at a low cost to promote the prevention of COVID-19. Some trainees will continue on as trainers while all participants will have employable skills that are in high demand. Thousands of people in the community, including healthcare personnel, will benefit from using the WHO recommended masks and face shields as a way of protecting themselves from coronavirus.
Project Update: 11-30-20
With a $3,400.00 World Connect grant, MicroMeck Community Group is implementing a COVID-19 response involving digital fabrication of COVID-19 personal protective equipment. To facilitate production, 16 community youths from Bangwe, in Blantyre have been trained in 3D printed reusable face shields and face masks production. The youths have also received training in computer aided design simulation processes using Solid Works Software. On September 14th, 2020 the first group of 10 graduated and received their certificates having undergone six weeks of training while the remaining six did only four weeks of training. On December 14th, 2020 the last cohort of 15 was recruited and they expect to finish by the end of January, 2021. From September 14th ,2020 to date the COVID-19 PPE MakerSpace has produced over 2,000 Face Shields through a 3D simulation process, and has also produced 55, 3D printed Face Masks. Out of these, 1800 Face Shields have been sold to schools and local organizations, while 36 ,3D printed Face Masks have been sold to individuals. Five youths from the first group of ten graduates have been retained, and are volunteering as second cohort instructors, starting December 14th, 2020. One business venture has been started by the five retained recruits, to locally produce and sell digital fabricated Face Masks and Face Shields to schools.
Final Report: 12-31-21
In a bid to deal with COVID-19 pandemic, Dumisani Kaliati, a Mandela Wshington Fellow and Co-Founder of the Makerspace, partnered with Bangwe community to train 30 local youths in local digital fabrication of low cost reusable COVID-19 Face Masks and Face Shields using 3D printed parts and laser cut materials in first intake. 22 youths completed the training representing 73.3% of the total registered. Using the skills gained, the group produced 5,000 face masks and 3,000 face shields some of which were sold generating $5,625 which were partly shared among the members. Over 2,000 masks were distributed freely through the Ministry of Health as part of combating the spread of COVID 19 in the area. Apart from the Digital Fabrication of COVID-19 PPE, the trainees were also taught entrepreneurship and leadership skills which so far has birthed four businesses. As part of continuity of this project, the group has retained 6 of the trained youths as trainer of trainers who have gone to traine over 40 new youth in the last year. Apart from face masks and shields, the Makerspace is also fabricating low-cost Quail hatching incubators and all other designs they see fit.
One of the training participants commends the impact the project has had on his life : “ The training equipped me with skills in solid works and actual production of PPE’s. I stand to testify that these skills are helping me supply the PPE’s to big markets like Banja La Mtsogolo Mzuzu branch, Simama hotel in Lilongwe and am now a member of Malawi Engineering Institution.”