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ORIGIN AFRICA’S RESPONSE TO COVID-19: EVERY SINGLE PENNY

PPE Togo

Summary

We’re living in the midst of a global pandemic unlike anything seen before and the decisions about how to manage Origin’s path through this have not been easy. While we are maintaining a positive and proactive approach, the bottom line is our African partners need support to navigate the situation and keep as many people as safe as possible in vulnerable communities.

Which is why we are launching a new campaign: Every Single Penny.

As many of you know, it has always been the aim of Origin to raise funds for humanitarian development projects through the sale of ethical fashion. Transparency is also one of our key values, which is why we want to share with you the decisions we have taken during this challenging time, and how we have reached these conclusions.

While the UK enters its fourth week of lockdown, the pandemic is only touching the surface in Africa and it is a sad fact that with less resources the repercussions there will be much greater than those we face here. We feel it is extremely important, now more than ever, to continue in our support of communities in developing countries and therefore we have decided that during April we will be donating 100% of our revenue to the fight against Covid-19 in Africa. 

This pandemic tests the very principles Origin was built on and we’re committed to doing everything we can to fight it right now. 

 

Therefore, we will be providing cash grants directly to clinics and healthcare providers in order to allow them to purchase protective equipment including masks, gloves and aprons. These grants will also, where appropriate, be used to establish handwashing stations outside clinics and targeted education programs in the community.

 

In the past 48 hours we have donated an initial £1,500 to this response in Togo, Ethiopia and Gambia, with a further project to be initiated in Mali next week.

 

What exactly does this mean?

 

As many of you already know, our usual model is that we donate 100% of our profits to humanitarian projects. Over the past two years this has been a successful model for the business.

 

However we clearly need to make a profit for it to work and, like many businesses at this challenging time, we are not turning any profit. But we’re determined not to let this hinder our fight for these vulnerable communities, which is why we passionately believe that now is the time to step up and not only continue to fund our current projects, but to launch new ones which specifically help these communities during the current pandemic.

 

Therefore we will be donating EVERY SINGLE PENNY of all revenue we receive to support these new projects.

 

This may not be the most astute business decision but our outcome of work in Africa is our primary indicator so it makes sense at the moment. The financial statements can recover later – the projects and safety of these communities must come first.

 

Where will the money go?

 

We have spent the past four weeks in daily contact with our colleagues in Africa and with the individuals who run the projects we support. It has always been our policy to be led by the needs of the community and to support them in the most culturally appropriate way. This has been, and will continue to be crucial to the success of these projects.

 

We are extremely lucky as an organisation to have a huge amount of medical and global health expertise to offer in this situation. On our advisory board is Cameroonian Doctor Didier Ndane who is based in Mali. Alongside this team we have fantastic project partners, including Dr Sabally who runs the Hands on Care Clinic in Brikama, Gambia (Visit their new website www.hocgambia.gm for more about their amazing team), as well as Dr Mekuria Amare who runs the community hospital in Debark, Ethiopia. 

 

In the UK we also have Tom, one of our founders and a full-time NHS emergency doctor in the UK, who has spent a large part of his career working in West Africa. Another of our advisory board members working with us, Annabel Allcorn, is an awe-inspiring nurse based in the UK, who spent two years working for the Ebola outbreak response in Sierra Leone.  

 

Having listened carefully to the primary thoughts and concerns we then discussed the options for a simple, cost-effective and timely response. The resounding agreement was the need to protect healthcare workers so that they can continue to treat patients throughout this crisis.

 

We also discussed the requirements for improved sanitation (handwashing facilities) as well as the importance of distributing education/accurate information on Covid-19 to allied healthcare providers (including community health workers, as well as the more qualified and experienced hospital based nurses and doctors) and, crucially, their communities. So this is directly where the money is going. 

 

EVERY SINGLE PENNY

 

We will continue to be operating our business as usual online during this lockdown, and we can only ask for your support in knowing that for every garment you buy, you are supporting the Covid-19 fight in Africa. Please join us and spread the word. #EverySinglePenny