The George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science


COVID Mali is a consortium of skilled engineers, designers, architects, and makers working on prototyping and refining PPE equipment and other medical supplies with localized raw materials in Bamako, Mali. Our team builds much-needed equipment including shields, gowns, prototypes for N95 equivalent respirators, and vacuum molding for bending/forming plastic or plexiglass (i.e. for face shields) to name a few. We plan to procure some raw materials abroad but aim to mainly rely on locally-procured materials for production, while simultaneously bolstering our local community partnerships for those who will fall most vulnerable to the virus.

Health Social Services Public Safety
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This project is accepting new volunteers

Background and Motivation

In a low-resource setting such as Mali, thousands if not millions of individuals will fall vulnerable to the disease and the inextricable links that come with deeply-rooted poverty, poor infrastructure, and a deteriorating security situation in the center region of the country. Localized solutions are vital to protecting as many people as possible in the midst of an outbreak. It is important for Mali to harness its expertise and knowledge within its own borders rather than relying too heavily on outside help.

Project Description

COVID Mali is a consortium of skilled professionals working to provide localized, endorsed medical solutions and equipment in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Desired skills of volunteers: 1. Must speak French at some level; 2. Must have some experience working in low-income or developing setting, either in the US or abroad; 3. Must have some familiarity with basic engineering principles, trained engineers, teachers, or people with experience in hacker/makerspaces is a huge PLUS!

Intended Impact

This project is very critical, since we're hoping to provide as many supplies as possible before the number of confirmed cases increases to thousands or the rate of transmission becomes faster. Currently, we are in the midst of speaking to government officials and developing our own creative solutions (for instance, a vacuum molding system) to continue to develop solutions, even with our dwindling supplies (i.e. we currently have no more PLA filament for our 3D printers and it's looking grim trying to get more PLA in-country).

Internal Stakeholders

Kelsey Oliver ( ; Hank DeBey ( team email (

Internal People Available During the Project

Kelsey Oliver, GW Alum and project manager

Start date: April 29, 2020
End date: May 25, 2021

Project tasks

Project scoping 2