In ensuring job security for workers while joining in the fight against COVID-19, a recycling plant in Tanzania’s port city of Dar es Salaam has traded paper for plastic bottles and started making anti-coronavirus face shields that are widely used by hospitals and health centers nationwide.

Before the spread of the virus, Zaidi Recyclers was involved in processing waste paper which is exported to customers in China and India. This earned the company around $37,000 in revenues monthly. However, after the Tanzanian government imposed lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus, new orders dried up, reducing trade to a trickle.

Nevertheless, the founder of Zaidi Recycles, Allen Kimambo switched his business to the production of face shields, a vital piece of personal protective equipment for health workers during the ongoing pandemic. This allowed him to save his business, the jobs of all its 38 workers and join in tackling the virus.

“I think the key is to remain relevant. You should not panic, because these crises have been there, this is not the first time we are facing this kind of crisis, if you panic, you will get lost and then you will not be able to come up or be active as you used to be before,” Kimambo said.

In a few weeks, Zaidi recycles has made 6,000 units that go for about $2 apiece and have begun receiving orders flooding from the health sector across Tanzania.

The firm, while in operations and maintaining safety and social distancing, has had to meet extra costs to protect its employees while keeping the business in operation, including for special transportation to and from the workplace.

Tanzania as of Tuesday had recorded 509 coronavirus cases, with 183 recoveries and 21 deaths. Authorities are of the opinion that the disruptions from the pandemic will slow economic growth in 2020 to 4 percent from a projection of 6.9 percent before the outbreak.

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