On Monday, July 27, U.S. Ambassador John Carwile will presented 2,800 face shields and 38,600 pairs of non-sterile disposable gloves worth $30,000 to Defense Minister Artis Pabriks, who will accept the donation on behalf of the Latvian government. The gloves and face shields will be used by various government institutions whose employees have frequent and direct contact with the public, thus providing additional protection and controlling the spread of COVID-19.
This donation is part of a series of Civic Engagement projects implemented by the U.S. Embassy Office of Defense Cooperation in support of the fight against COVID-19 in Latvia. Earlier in May, the U.S. Embassy transferred 3,660 liters of hand and surface sanitizers to the Latvian State Emergency Medical Service and 22,500 pairs of non-sterile gloves and 1,000 liters of hand sanitizers to the Ministry of Education to be used during centralized school graduation exams.
To coordinate the procurement, packaging, and transfer of this donation, the Office of Defense Cooperation worked with the Latvian Ministry of Defense and the State Center for Defense Military Sites and Procurement (VAMOIC). Specifically, the U.S. and Latvian offices collaborated to meet EU standards and to ensure that local vendors were used for procurement. (The face shields, for example, were produced locally by Latvian company, “R-Sektors”) The donation totaling $30,000 was funded by the U.S. European Command Civic Engagement program.
In addition to these projects, the U.S. Embassy Office of Defense Cooperation works closely with other governmental organizations, such as the State Fire and Rescue Service, regional municipalities, schools, senior citizen homes, and orphanages. Since 2007, the U.S. Embassy Office of Defense Cooperation has completed more than 46 individual projects totaling more than $10 million in direct investment to the local economy as a result of using local vendors.