Africa innovates Magazine -AI4DEV - Flipbook - Page 66
JENNET LEMMA (Ethiopia)
PPE MADE BY WOM
P U R P O S E F U L P P E A N D FA C E M A S K S
Gaber Wear is a women-powered apparel company, owned by Jennet Lemma. When
Coronavirus reached Ethiopia, and as demand grew, Gaber Wear quickly positioned
itself to help fight the pandemic, by producing affordable facemasks and PPE.
W H AT I N S P I R E D YO U TO
C R E AT E YO U R P R O D U C T ?
When we got our first confirmed case of COVID-19 in
Ethiopia, it was a time of confusion and fear for most
people, who began reaching out to us for scrubs and
facemasks. After getting more information on the
pandemic and directions from the local health administration, our management team understood that it was
our responsibility as a company to be of service to our
community and play our part towards the fight against
the pandemic. So we had to repurpose, and began
producing affordable facemasks and PPE, to help meet
our country’s demand.
W H AT H A S B E E N T H E I M PA C T
O F YO U R P R O D U C T ?
We are able to produce affordable facemasks and
PPE, that way reaching many people. We also created
a gofundme campaign for other people to join us in
donating facemasks and PPE for those could not afford
it. With our campaign, we focused on the vulnerable
elderly population unable to afford facemasks as well
as donating scrubs and gowns to medical professionals, who are high-risk frontline personnel during this
ARE THERE ANY CHALLENGES
YO U H AV E FA C E D P R O D U C I N G
YO U R P R O D U C T ?
Initially, we had challenges in obtaining the raw material needed for mass production as well as training our
66 SHOWCASING AFRICAN INNOVATION
staff to make the new products. We were fortunate to
be selected as recipients of a MasterCard Foundation
grant program in relation to COVID-19 relief. This grant
program has been fundamental in helping us not only
keep our staff employed, but we have also been in a
position to recruit more people.
W H AT H E L P W O U L D YO U N E E D
TO S C A L E U P A N D I M P R OV E
YO U R P R O D U C T ?
As a growing SME, market linkage is an area of challenge for us. To have an opportunity to be locally listed
as a vendor, and to have partnership opportunities with
large organizations, would enable us to sell our products and scale up. At the continental and international
level, we need linkage and opportunities to export our
W H AT A R E YO U R H O P E S FO R
T H E F U T U R E O F YO U R I N N OVA T I O N A N D YO U R B U S I N E S S ?
At the core and heart of Gaber Wear, is the importance
of empowering women. Established in 2016, 85% of
our staff are women – right from those who work on
our factory floor sewing our products, to those in managerial positions. We also embrace all other women who
express themselves through our products. Our hope in
the future is to be a renowned apparel brand not just in
Ethiopia but across the continent. And we hope to be
the space for future innovative products that can solve
Africa’s community problems.