Addis Gets a Million Dollar COVID Response Project

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Two private companies, Dalberg Group, and Roha Group, in partnership with The Addis Abeba Mayor’s office and non-governmental organizations, have launched a Novel Coronavirus response program dubbed Tenachin Bejachin at the cost of one million dollars.

The program that will see the manufacturing and distribution of soaps, facemasks and installation of water tankers aims to reach 1.2 million vulnerable people in 400,000 households in Addis Abeba.

Tenachin Bejachin, also known as the Safe Hands Ethiopia Coalition, aims to combat the COVID pandemic through a zero-profit business model.

According to the scheme, member manufacturing companies in the coalition produce the sanitation and protective products items at zero profit for six months. The coalition, in turn, guarantees the cost recovery for operating expenses relating to the production.

The coalition believes that this business model will assist in the manufacturing and distribution of the sanitation products to high-risk communities while ensuring businesses cover their cost and retain their employees.

The One million dollar funding required for the pilot project that will last for a month months was secured by Roha Group, an investment firm that works in Africa.

The other private partner that took the initiative to organize the project is Dalberg Group, a global consulting firm with offices in 24 countries. The group has previously worked with institutions like the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) mobilizing funds.

“In cooperation with other partners, we wanted to utilize our area of expertise in the fight against the Novel Coronavirus,” Dagmawi Haileyessus, said a representative of Dalberg Group.

“Being an impact and change-driven company we took the initiative as we wanted to see more partnerships between the private and public sector” added Dagmawi

Furthermore, there are plans to scale up the project with a potential of 6 million dollars. The remaining 5 million is excepted to be secured from donors, private sector players, and non-governmental organizations that will join the coalition.

The coalition that has brought around 15 private companies, government institutions, and NGOs also has Mary Joy and Save the children Ethiopia as its members.

Mary Joy is the fund management and impact assessment partner, and it will monitor and evaluate the pilot project before scaling up. On the other hand, Save the Children Ethiopia will provide technical guidance and support regarding communication and community engagement.

The Ministry of Finance has also joined the project to support private business in the fight against COVID by lifting the Value-added Tax on the items manufactured by the project.

So far, 15 local manufacturers that will produce the sanitary items were identified in the capital.

The producers, with a total of 700 employees, were not previously engaged in the production of sanitary items and were involved in the textile industry.

“The virus has impacted many of these small businesses in Ethiopia,” said Fisseha Alemayehu, CEO of Free Zone International, a coalition of the selected local manufacturers.

“The project will help these local manufacturers extend their live lifeline providing an intervention urgently needed,” added Fisseha.

While the pilot project is implemented in the capital, upon scaling up, the program will extend to regional areas and towns.

The Addis Abeba city administration has identified 24,934 blocks to collect vulnerability status and data. It has also built 1357 resource banks in 121 woredas, where donated materials are collected and distributed.

Nationwide, 260 sub-city and woreda team leaders were given training on the standard procedure for distribution to protect the health and safety of staff and community members.