For the most marginalized urban slum dwellers, access to basic service and standard messaging is an impossibility. SHOFCO is placing people at the core of our response and the leaders of our response. Through the mobilization of its deep-rooted, community-based mechanisms such as the SHOFCO Urban Network (SUN) and Community Health Workers (CHWs), SHOFCO is at the frontlines in confronting COVID-19 in the slums and we are embarking on a massive community-wide campaign to raise awareness about the disease and implement prevention measures.
The backbone of the plan is the SHOFCO Urban Network (SUN). With over 139,000 members, SUN is on the frontlines of community-level activism and cohesion. SHOFCO has a presence in 11 slums across the three largest urban centers in Kenya: Nairobi, Kisumu, and Mombasa.
SHOFCO has opened open air centers at strategic points across 11 slums and their entry points for the dissemination of health awareness information including the distribution of pamphlets that are easy to read and in Kiswahili, as well as hand sanitizers and hand soap. The same resources are distributed by our Community Health Workers (CHWs) conducting door-to-door campaigns. This dissemination of information will allow residents to be aware of and identify any suspected symptoms associated with COVID-19. This will allow for the quick isolation and reporting of any suspected cases, effectively slowing down the rate of transmission.
SHOFCO has also scaled up our existing WASH program to promote hand washing and general good hygiene as these methods can be effective in limiting the spread of the disease. Together with our community leaders, we have extend this to all portals into the community, pairing it with information and awareness messaging. This campaign rests on our innovative network clean water distribution kiosks connected by aerial piping, a first-of-its-kind initiative in one of Africa’s urban slum communities. These kiosks are strategically placed throughout Kibera and have served over 19,970 users in 2018 alone. Foot traffic around these sites provide us the opportunity to maximize the amount of people reached by this campaign.