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News & Blog > Blogs: "Perspectives, Provocations & Initiatives" > Mamunur's ELLA initiative in response to Covid-19

Mamunur's ELLA initiative in response to Covid-19

An update on how ELLA and it's founder, alum Mamunur Rahman (MA20) have been working to make and distribute thousands of cloth pads and masks during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Image: ELLA Pad producer Shipa is making pads at her own village for her community girls and women
Image: ELLA Pad producer Shipa is making pads at her own village for her community girls and women

In response to Covid-19 IDS alum Mamunur Rahman (MA20), Founder of ELLA and winner of the Entrepeneuralism prize at the British Council's Study UK Alumni Awards 2019, came up with his innovative solution of cloth-based face masks, reusing the garment/textile scraps, at the very inception of the pandemic last year. The US Embassy Bangladesh dubbed him as its hero in Bangladesh for fighting pandemic being at the front line. The University of Sussex covered news on success story especially in response to Covid-19. Mamunur led involvement from both public and private sectors in introducing the cloth masks. While people were suffering from a shortage of  imported masks Mamunur kept on campaigning to meet the local demand with cloth masks made left-over garment scraps. The leading media made stories on his heroic works. To do this works, he has trained hundreds of women at the grass root levels to transform their lives and livelihoods just making cloth masks and sanitary pads being at their villages.

ELLA Pad introduced innovative solution of menstrual hygiene during this pandemic period and expanded its operations at the community level. They are not only distributing thousands of cloth pads but also creating hundreds of green jobs at the grass root level to make cloth pads and cloth masks.

Image- Ella masks for doctor: ELLA  masks are being distributed among doctors: Doctor association leader Dr Shahed receiving ELLA masks 

At the policy level, ELLA involve the Prime Minister Office in promoting the cloth masks. Leading diplomats in Dhaka joined with Mamunur to promote his cloth masks initiative.  The British High Commission, British Council and European Union Delegation, US Embassy and many others foreign missions are regularly using his green cloth masks. From the house micro women entrepreneurs Mamunur’s masks went to the national parliament, secretariats, and low enforcing agencies.

Mamunur is a pioneer in leading to replace the plastic-based masks to cloth-based masks in Bangladesh to meet the local demand at the affordable prices. In addition, they are saving the environment in multiple ways: cutting CO2, reducing land fill, polluting water bodies including river, ponds, water bodies and so on.

Find out more about Ella

This is an update to the IDS Alumni Response to alumni network news articles published around the beginning of the Covid-19 Pandemic:

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Photo Courtesy: Manzil Project, IPE Global.

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