Protecting communities one face shield at a time

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Online campaign raises awareness of protection for community frontliners

Difficult situations call for improvised solutions. Even before the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the immediate lack of face masks upon the eruption of Taal Volcano last January has pushed some to be creative in protecting their mouths and noses. The current pandemic has further pushed the demand not just for face masks, but also for personal protective equipment (PPEs), especially for our frontliners.

It seems, however, that not all frontliners get the protective gear they need. Inevitably, the PPEs provided by the national government as well as other concerned sectors go to medial frontliners, who definitely need it the most. While PPEs are highly demanded at hospitals and health centers, there are other frontliners who are also in need of protection.

Frontliners such as security guards, janitors, barangay tanods, delivery personnel, garbage collectors, metro aides, drivers for health workers, bakery and eatery staff, supermarket and fastfood staff, bank tellers, and pawnshop and remittance employees are also considered as high vectors for transmission. They need adequate protection as well, since they regularly contact many people in their areas of work.

A face shield will aptly meet this need, since it serves as a middle layer of defense between communities in quarantine and frontliners working for essential services. Moreover, face shields can be easily done using materials found in every home.

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Seeing the need to protect community frontliners by providing them face shields, Carol Ong, founder and chairperson of the Philippine Chamber of Business and Professionals (PhilCham Shanghai), and Marlon Rivera, a well-known film director, in partnership with advertising agency BBDO Guerrero, has launched the #CommunityShields initiative.

By presenting procedures for creating improvised face shields through its social media platforms, #CommunityShields primarily aims to turn homes into a network of factories for community face shields during the quarantine.

“Community frontliners can protect, or can infect entire neighborhoods. But how many are protected by face shields?” Ms. Ong said in a statement. “We want to enable communities to shield their own frontliners; and be part of the solution.”

The initiative encourages people to be a part of the solution by making face shields for themselves and for community frontliners they meet.

It also urges netizens to share a selfie or video of the face shields they have made, together with the hashtag #CommunityShields, in order to consolidate all the ideas in one easy search.

BBDO Guerrero amplifies this initiative through designing a series of posters that can be shared via existing distribution networks, print, and social platforms.

The instructional posters and social posts are aimed at teaching people how to make face shields using materials that are readily available at home; such as plastic book covers, hats, soda bottles, and acetate sheets.

“Communication can play a critical role at this time. Educating and inspiring people to help with what they can do from their homes can help provide valuable aid to our frontliners who continuously risk their lives for the benefit of the entire community,” David Guerrero, creative chairman of BBDO Guerrero, pointed out.

Each infographic details the procedures in three to four easy-to-follow steps, and is now posted on #CommunityShields’ pages on Facebook and Instagram.

Learn how to make your own community shields by liking their Facebook page at facebook.com/communityshields or following them on Instagram @communityshieldsph. — ADRIAN PAUL B. CONOZA

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