East African packaging leader Silafrica converts production capabilities to serve the greater good during COVID-19 pandemic

Commitment to having a positive social impact on the people and the communities

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Silafrica
Silafrica Safe Toilets

In many ways, both small and large, corporations are stepping forward in unified support of combating the Coronavirus, some directly and others in somewhat indirect ways. One company in particular is quietly, making significant contributions to improve the health and lives of people throughout Africa in the name of sanitation, cleanliness and dignity. That company is Silafrica, a manufacturer and supplier of plastic and packaging solutions for corporations, consumer packaged goods (CPGs) and consumers. Silafrica recently took a decisive step to help East African communities combat the current health crises by retooling a portion of its manufacturing capabilities at its Kenya & Tanzania production facilities to increase faster and more affordable access to three much needed products throughout East Africa and beyond: high throughput touchless hand washing stations, closed-pit latrines or safe toilets, and PPE coveralls.

As recently reported by UNICEF, more than 5.6 million Kenyans are lacking access to a safe sanitary toilet and instead either open defecate or use open-pit latrines from whcih flies come out and spread disease. For high density low income residential areas, this is a time bomb waiting to explode as compromised health & immunity among any population is the last thing we need during this Covid19 crises. To tackle this humanitarian crisis, and in realizing the goal of safe and affordable toilets for the general population, Silafrica is working in conjunction with SATO, a leader in sanitation solutions and part of the LIXIL group, the world’s largest toilet manufacturer which also includes American Standard among its many well-known brands.

“We are proud to be partnering with SATO, and a true innovator in this category and the leader in sanitary solutions that provide affordable and easy-to-install safe closed pit-latrine toilets to vulnerable communities throughout East Africa,” states Silafrica’s group executive director, Akshay Shah.

The proven and durable SATO designs include toilets in three formats, a stool version and two squate plate versions; one basic squatting style and one with a foot pad area, which would be ideal for more rural environments where the surface area may be dirt versus cement or tiling. All three models come with an automatic closing mechanism to reduce odor and more importantly, prevent flies from coming out of the pit. The stool design is ideal for the elderly, pregnant women and children. The ultimate goal of Silafrica’s partnership with SATO is twofold – 1) to improve the health resilience of the general population who don’t have access to flush toilets, and 2) to give this population the dignity of having the basic human right to safe sanitation.

“Our relationship with SATO is just the latest example of Silafrica’s commitment to having a positive, meaningful social impact on the people and the communities we serve,” adds Shah. “Included in our recent efforts have been the production and distribution of safe hand washing units, remanufactured grid tiles for protecting agriculture output from soil erosion, PPE and a variety of other products that bring health and dignity to families throughout the region.”

Currently, Silafrica has the capability to produce 1,500 units per day in each country and can readily ramp up manufacturing capacity to twice that number. In the interest of serving the greater good, and reaching as broad a population as possible, Silafrica will be offering the toilets to local and regional communities for the most affordable price point. Production of the safe toilet designs are scheduled to begin immediately, with Silafrica factory workers going out into neighborhoods and communities to personally assist with installation. Silafrica welcomes other factories to join this cause and empower their factory workers to positively impact and contribute to vulnerable communities who need safe closed-pit latrine toilets to prevent the spread of diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery.

 

 

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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