THE FACE MASK PROJECT
The project was started as an initiative to respond to the need for the general public to have access
to enough face masks needed for protection from the spread of covid-19.
After the breakout of the covid-19 pandemic, health experts from all over the world advised the
general public to wear face masks. However, the available face masks were the scientific N95 which
are used by health workers and doctors in hospital. These masks are very expensive and are not
reusable, making it very difficult for the general public to afford.
It is because of this that UPLIFT Uganda decided to take part in the production of affordable and reusable face
masks for the people of West Nile. A pilot project was started in Paidha where the market for the face masks
seems to be bigger.
Kick starting the project
Buying of materials
On Monday, 31 st of August 2020, some materials were purchased from Kampala and brought to Paidha where
the project was set to start. These materials include a roll of PV material (this is one of the mostly used and
available materials in Uganda, and it is also one of the recommended materials by the Uganda Bureau of
Standards), elastic materials for ear bands and threads, other materials such as kitenge for use as the inside
layer, and other training materials were bought in Paidha.
Buying of a motorcycle
On Tuesday 1 st September, a brand new motorcycle, under registration number UFC763M was purchased from
Arua to facilitate transportation for the implementation of the project and also for monitoring other
programme activities. This motorcycle will later be given to the coordinator of Zombo, Mr. Mawa Simon, to
replace his old motor. It was decided later by the board that the old motorcycle will be given to Mrs. Alimundu
Florence, one of the Board Members of UPLIFT and one of the long serving mentors, to facilitate her
transportation in Nebbi and Zombo districts.
Day one: The training started on Wednesday by studying the document provided by the friends of UPLIFT.
Participants had had some little information about why masks should be used, for example they knew that it
helps to stop the spread of corona virus but didn’t know that the virus is contained in the small droplets of
human fluids that is expelled when someone with the virus talks, sneezes or coughs. They also didn’t know the
difference between covid-19 and corona virus. The document was, therefore, very important for them.
The training started by looking at the different types of face masks. Comparison was made between
the rectangular type, provided in the document, and the curved type which is mostly used. It was decided that
we use the curved type because they are easy to market and also look nicer than the rectangular ones. A
pattern for making curved masks was correctively developed.
After, both types of face masks were made for comparison purposes.
Day three: The training continued with much emphasis on materials management, neatness and cleanliness.
As mentioned before, the curve shaped type of masks are the favourite ones, so we decided to produce that
type, as shown below, instead of the rectangular ones.
According to the coordinator of zombo, marketing will be easy since Paidha boarders with Congo, and there
are many markets around the place. It was also observed that since we are now in electioneering period, the
need for more masks will increase.
Both coordinators made assurance that they will be directly involved in the marketing of the face masks, with
Mawa taking them even along the boarder and Lukidi taking them down to Nebbi. Also Patricia, the director
for tailoring, said she and the tailoring students will be involved in marketing and selling of the masks.
o The general observation in the area is that many people seem not to care about wearing masks. Even
during elections (political party preliminaries), people were seen going to voting places without masks.
It is not clear whether the people lack information about the nature of the pandemic or they just do
not care. However there are a few, especially in Government organizations, who are very conscious
and careful about the virus.
o The training was very useful for all the participant because it provided information that they did not
o Participants understood the importance of wearing masks, especially in crowded public areas. At the
beginning they did not have masks but by the end everybody was putting on a mask as shown below.
After realizing that there is need for people to get more information about corona virus, we came up
with the following document which is being translated and will be used to teach our learners about
corona virus disease during the health sensitizing sessions.
How is covid-19 spread:
Covid-19 is spread through direct, indirect (through contaminated objects or surfaces), or close contact with
infected people via mouth and nose secretions. These include saliva, respiratory secretions or secretion
droplets. These are released from the mouth or nose when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings,
for example. People who are in close contact (within 1 meter) with an infected person can catch COVID-19
when those infectious droplets get into their mouth, nose or eyes.
People with the virus in their noses and throats may leave infected droplets on objects and surfaces (called
fomites) when they sneeze, cough on, or touch surfaces, such as tables, doorknobs and handrails. Other people
may become infected by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, noses or mouths before
cleaning their hands.
Most common symptoms:
2) Dry cough
Less common symptoms:
1) Aches and pains
2) Sore throat
6) Loss of taste or smell
7) A rash on skin, or discolouration of fingers or toes
How to avoid
To prevent the spread of COVID-19:
1) Clean your hands often. Use soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.
2) Maintain a safe distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
3) Wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible.
4) Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
5) Cover your nose and mouth with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
6) Stay home if you feel unwell.
7) If you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention
Masks can help prevent the spread of the virus from the person wearing the mask to others.
8Use of face masks can help reduce transmission of the virus. The Corona virus is very tiny. However,
when a person with the Covid-19 virus coughs the virus is contained within a fluid droplet. These
droplets can be stopped by a face mask that serves as a barrier. However, masks alone do not protect
against COVID-19, they should be combined with physical distancing and hand hygiene.
The reasoning behind use of face masks1 is:
If you (or a patient) are Covid-19 positive, your (or a patient’s) use of a face mask will reduce the
amount of virus being spread.
A face mask can protect you from moisture droplets that might contain the Covid-19 virus when close
to a patient who breathes heavily, coughs or sneezes.
In crowded public areas a face mask can protect you from moisture droplets that might contain the
Covid-19 virus, when people around you cough or sneeze.
How to clean reusable face masks
Non-medical masks are reusable but should be cleaned after each use. Here are some good suggestions:
1) Remove the mask without touching the front
2) Wash it in your with other items, regular laundry soap is effective.
3) If by hand wash, place one or several masks in a clean container and scrub for 20 seconds.
4) Or boil them in water for five minutes or soak them in warm/hot water for 30 minutes.
5) Masks can be disinfected by ironing them.
6) Hang masks to dry or use a dryer.
Protect yourself and others around you by knowing the facts and taking appropriate precautions. Follow advice
provided by your local health authority.
The training was successful and all participants appreciated it. There was also renewed hope, thanks to the
friends of UPLIFT, among some of the UPLIFT members who had thought that the programme had closed.