Local Production Local Solutions

What is COVIDaction:  Local Production Local Solutions?

The COVIDaction Programme, funded by UK Aid (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, FCDO) aims to build a technology and innovation pipeline to support action related to the COVID-19 pandemic across key thematic areas of data, resilient health, and local production. Local Production Local Solutions (LPLS) is the COVIDaction theme that is addressing the supply chain issues that have arisen during COVID-19.

Making local production systems more resilient

LPLS, while currently focused on COVID-19 related products, prioritises making local production systems more resilient. Global logistics have been compromised by lockdowns and border controls across the world,  leaving many businesses without key parts of their supply chain. At the same time, we are witnessing a huge global demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) & other critical products. Supply and materials have struggled to meet the demand. These conditions have exposed the rigid, inflexible state of production in many settings, demonstrating the need  for locally resilient, flexible production ecosystems. The current pandemic and its aftermath could be an important catalyst to develop broader, restorative, and agile supply systems. This could also provide opportunities to localise some of the production that has historically depended on imports.

Funding small scale innovators and producers

The global response to meet the demands of this pandemic has been across scales and  sectors. The role of informal small scale producers pivoting to key products has been as critical as the work done by established industries.  LPLS wanted to reflect this significant trend in its funding call to innovators working in this space.  We put a call out to innovators across all Africa countries, as well as India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal. The programme partnered with Afrilabs who led scouts across seven African countries, into informal communities that would not be reached with an online call, gaining applications from producers doing vital work for their community. With 500+ entries to LPLS currently, the team is now in the process of judging and awarding grants. 

Creating circular economies and enabling distributed manufacturing

Circular Economic (CE) approaches and distributed manufacturing are two interconnected approaches we are looking at. Circular economic approaches emphasize greater use of locally available materials, extension of product lifecycles, managing waste to create further productive resources, and regenerating natural systems.  In distributed manufacturing approaches, the process of design and production is spread across a large, agile network of suitable actors. This approacch could allow responsive production to occur, as and when it is needed. 

  1. Circular economies

To make the best use of local resources, Circular Economic (CE) approaches have come to the forefront in many local contexts. We are working with innovators doing vital work at different points around the value chain. We we aim to build circular economy ecosystems in local areas, closing the loop on material use through re-use and recycling resources as much as possible. We will keep building the links and relationships that make these approaches work. We are also working with other FCDO programmes to take the knowledge base around these ecosystems and replicate them in other appropriate regions and countries.

We're building an investment portfolio across the circular supply chain
  1. Distributed manufacturing

In distributed manufacturing approaches, the process of design and production is spread across a large, agile network of suitable actors.  This approacch could allow responsive production to occur, as and when it is needed.