The United States government donated nearly $50,000 in personal protective equipment (PPE) and humanitarian assistance items to the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) in Lilongwe on Friday, June 19, 2020 to protect workers and voters at polling sites throughout the country during the June 23rd presidential election. The PPE included 20,000 masks, 40,000 disposable gloves, 1,000 face shields, and 1,500 handwash stations that include water dispensers, basins, liquid soap, and hand sanitizer. All items were purchased through local vendors.
The donation will outfit polling and tallying sites throughout the country with protective materials to blunt the transmission of COVID-19 and enable the Malawian people to safely exercise their democratic rights during next week’s historically monumental election. The project aims to benefit a wide array of Malawian citizens involved in the election, including poll workers, election officials, security personnel, and voters.
The United States Embassy in Lilongwe coordinated the humanitarian assistance donation through the Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster, and Civic Aid (OHDACA) appropriation, a U.S. Department of Defense program that builds the capacity of partner nation governments to provide essential humanitarian services to civilian populations.
This humanitarian assistance donation complements the U.S. government’s commitment of $7.5 million in additional assistance over the past month to support Malawi’s fights against COVID-19 via the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The funding is being used to scale-up laboratory testing capacity, health service provider training, surveillance and contact tracing, infection control practices, and community information, education and engagement.