COVID-19 RESPONSE- MWF ALUMINUS REBEKAH AWUAH Educates and Provides Free Masks to Senior Citizens and Street food vendors.

The government of Ghana as part of efforts to intensify the fight against the deadly coronavirus, announced the compulsory wearing of face masks at public places from April 20, 2020. Following this, the Rebekah Awuah Foundation, an organization founded by an award-winning Ghanaian Journalist and a 2017 Mandela Washington fellow – passionate about creating positive change stepped up to help provide the protective garment to senior citizens and street food vendors in the community.

Committed to providing livelihoods for the less privileged and vulnerable in society, girl child empowerment, education, skills development and the health and wellbeing of the aged, the foundation came up with this huge social intervention dubbed ‘Mask-ing Out” to meet the needs of those who are among the most at-risk of becoming severely ill should they contract the novel coronavirus.

“Our thought was that we have a lot of seniors or elderly folks in the community, and I know a lot aren’t going out, but some are,” Rebekah Awuah, the President of the foundation said. “We have friends and family in Ghana and in various communities in the regions, so we know how bad this [virus] is and how important it is to have masks. “We staying to our cause, that is, if you’re 60 years or over we want to give you masks, no caveats.” Seniors who were unable to come out for the distribution received their masks through contact-less delivery.

In Ghana like most African countries, the informal sector is huge and street food vending is one area that cannot be ignored. “The team decided to include that bracket of people because they feed the masses particularly the working class who are the future of every country. A mask for them means protection for everyone she added.”

The Rebekah Awuah Foundation gave out roughly 100 masks during its first distribution at Nungua – a suburb of Accra under the Krowor Municipal Assembly and plan to repeat the effort in the Okere District Assembly in the Eastern Region of Ghana and some mental health hospitals in Accra. “We’re trying to keep our “mask-ing Out” intervention as close as possible because we don’t want to be driving all over and potentially spread the virus,” the President said.

RafVolunteers educated the masses as they handed over the protective masks to them. Though many complained of the suffocation with other types of masks they readily embraced the ones provided by the foundations as according to them, it was airy, comfortable and designed according to standard.

Mad. Eunice Abena Amoabea, the project coordinator, said the foundation had been trying to find masks to hand out but had come up empty at stores and almost gave up the idea during the four-week lock-down in the greater Accra and Kumasi areas of Ghana. It wasn’t until Ashirifia wear at a short notice came forward to assist provide home-made masks from authentic Ghanaian fabrics, that we at the foundation were able to get this done. “The money for the protective masks came via fundraising efforts and Ashirifia wear also provided some of these masks for free as a way of giving back to the community she added”.

Partnerships and collaborations are good especially around this time, and we call on other organizations, individuals, and well-meaning Ghanaians who believe in the cause for humanity to come on board so we make the needed impact together. For the hundreds of masks we hope to be receiving through the benevolence and generosity of our partners and their donations, the Rebekah Awuah Foundation plans to pass them out as needed to community members and organizations. We encourage the media to support this

initiative and entreat Ghanaians to reach out via email and follow the Rebekah Awuah Foundation on all their social media handles @rafghana and @RAFgh7 to know the next intervention, get involved, and serve your community.