By: Queenie Resmundo
In the hopes of designing solutions against COVID-19 outbreak, United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) youth entrepreneurship hub Knua Juventude Fila Liman (KJFL) in Timor Leste has produced face shields using three-dimensional printers.
The next generation of manufacturing technology, 3D printers have the capacity to make nearly anything depending on the materials and size.
According to Bonifacio Lopes, Learning and Event Facilitator for the UNDP Accelerator Lab, the shortages on medical essentials, disruption to global supply chains, and the border closures exacerbated the situation and increased the need for locally-sourced PPE.
“The team of Timor-Leste Accelerator Lab (Acclab) and UNDP-Knua Juventude Fila-Liman (KJFL) worked together and mapped potential solutions to produce much needed PPE including face shields,” shared Lopes.
To be able to produce locally sourced PPE for frontliners in their country, the hub began researching open-source (free) software codes to 3D-print frames for face-shields used by healthcare workers. NGO Catalpa International initiated multi-party collaboration on the initiative, by bringing together Similie, Dili International School (who also have 3D printers), and the UNDP for faster face shield production.
The face shield model that is being used is from a Swedish group ‘3D Verkstan’, with a design that is more efficient, convenient, and most recommended by health professionals.
Since its first mass production last April 20, KJFL has produced over 780 face shields. They have since distributed these to the Ministry of Health (MoH), National Police of Timor-Leste, Special Socio-Economic Zone (ZEEMS) Hospital, National Hospitals, and many more.
KJFL has also been producing locally sourced hand-sanitizer with the National University of Timor-Leste. They are also working on technical designs and a prototype for hands-free hand-washing stations for Timorese.
In addition, the hub supports young entrepreneurs with business planning training in preparation for the ease of COVID-19 restrictions, and also assists the agriculture sector on the country’s food security amid the pandemic.
“We know that this pandemic is affecting everyone, however the youth has advantages in contributing to the fight against the pandemic. If small actions can protect your your family, friends, and neighborhood then do it with all the energy you have. Sometimes the little actions matter,” said Lopes.
SEA Wave magazine’s SEAtizens initiative is a series of inspiring stories of people in Southeast Asia who champion the human spirit by demonstrating courage, ingenuity, generosity, and selflessness amidst the current crisis.