Turkey's state-run aid agency on Saturday provided personal protective equipment (PPE) to Sudan to help the country’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic while also donating supplies to its neighbor South Sudan to help empower women.
The supplies delivered by the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) to Sudan included other medical equipment in addition to the PPE, including oximeters, thermometers and disinfection tools.
Sudan has so far reported 19,468 coronavirus cases and a death toll of 1,295 due to COVID-19, but due to limited testing capabilities in the country, experts believe the actual numbers are higher.
Like the rest of the world, the outbreak has led to an increase in demand for personal hygiene products in African nations. To help women dabbling in handcrafts in Southern Sudan sustain their families, TIKA also donated equipment for making soap to female entrepreneurs. The supplies included 80 liters (21 gallons) of Lulu oil, buckets, gloves and measuring cylinders.
"Turkish people are here. The Turkish Embassy is here. TIKA is here to help you establish a better life by supporting you in this development project," Turkey's Ambassador to Juba Tuğrul Biltekin said during the donation drive.
He said they support the soap-making project and plan to introduce another project for sandal-making to provide further financial support for struggling families.
Natasha Malek, a representative of Lulu Care, a national nongovernmental organization (NGO) led by women, said that they are training women on how to make bar and liquid soap so they can sell their products in the market to sustain their families and generate income.
She also said that the women appreciated TIKA's support.
Regina Lullo, director-general of gender and children welfare at the Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, said the government prioritizes women's empowerment for gender equality.
"We have to mobilize women to empower them, and we use civil societies and women's groups to empower them economically and politically in the ministry at the national level."
"I am happy that TIKA supports our women for generating income," he added.
Turgut Gazigil, deputy coordinator for TIKA in Juba, was also present for the official delivery of the aid.
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