Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa’s initiative to produce protective face shields for front-line medical and essential services personnel in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has been given a boost with local non-governmental organisation, Gift of the Givers Foundation, coming on board to provide the banking facility for the funds being raised.
Ford has already provided the funding for an initial 57 000 face shields, and has approached its suppliers and business partners to contribute to this initiative as it aims to reach its goal of producing 500 000 units. Businesses and the general public are invited to make donations to the project through Gift of the Givers to help address the critical shortage of personal protection equipment.
“It’s fantastic to have Gift of the Givers joining our project by providing the banking facility for donations,” says Ockert Berry, VP Operations, Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa. “Gift of the Givers has been doing amazing work prior to, and throughout this COVID-19 health crisis, and we are glad to be supporting them during lockdown with Ford Rangers and Everests in Gauteng, Cape Town and Durban to assist communities in need.
“Every bit of the funds raised for this project will go towards the purchase of material kits for the face shields, so any contributions, big or small, will help make a difference in our endeavour to reach our target of 500 000 units,” Berry explains. “We are exceptionally grateful for the support received thus far from our supplier network, which has stepped up and made valuable contributions through monetary donations, as well as the provision of materials, packaging and transport, all at no cost.”
To date, over 44 000 face shields have been produced by the dedicated team of 85 Ford employees and volunteers from supplier companies at its Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria. They are now producing more than 10 000 units per day, and their commendable work is supported by Ford’s manufacturing, purchasing, finance and material planning and logistics (MP&L) staff who are working from home during the COVID-19 national lockdown, but are instrumental in the overall success of the project.
The face shields produced thus far have primarily been supplied to the Department of Health’s centralised distribution centre.
“Gift of the Givers supports the ‘can-do’ attitude shown by Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa in helping prevent the spread of COVID-19,” says Badr Kazi, director of the Gift of the Givers Foundation. “The production of the transparent face shields at Ford’s local assembly plant is aligned to Gift of the Givers Foundation’s ethos of South African ingenuity in times of adversity.
“We thank the multitude of corporate and private donors that are contributing to this project, and making it possible to provide free face shields to all our healthcare providers, and those on the front line combating this global pandemic. We are a proud partner of Ford South Africa,” Kazi adds.
The shields are manufactured to global health standards, using a clear polyethylene sheet, polyurethane foam padding and a headband so that it wraps around the user’s face, providing protection for the eyes, nose and mouth against the spread of the coronavirus. Clear instructions are provided on how to wear the shield correctly, along with cleaning and storage guidelines. They are designed to be reusable, and sanitized after each use.
Ford employees and supplier company volunteers involved in the production process work according to strict COVID-19 health and personal hygiene guidelines. All staff are screened regularly for coronavirus symptoms, and are required to wear latex gloves, face masks and the face shields, and maintain appropriate social distancing at all times.
All donations can be made directly to Gift of the Givers:
Account Name: Gift of the Givers
Institution: Standard Bank
Account number: 052137228
Branch Code: 057525
Deposit Reference: Ford
Any queries regarding making donations can be e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org, using the reference: Ford SA COVID-19.
Companies that have contributed to the project by providing products and services thus far include:
- Gift of the Givers Foundation – bank account for donations
- Creative Graphics International – face kit sample materials
- Trek Plastics – face kit samples, production and supply of material kits at discounted rate
- Feltex Automotive – foam material
- Aeroklas Duys – foam material
- Zig Enterprise – material kit assembly
- Lithotec – labels
- Jamsco Automotive – Velcro material
- Plastic Direct – plastic bags
- Corruseal Group – boxes
- Silverton Engineering – boxes
- Trans-Atlantic Logistics – freight transport
- DSV – freight transport
- Red Moon – transport to remote hospitals and clinics