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SHOFCO's Campaign Against COVID-19 in Kenyan Urban Slums

A community-wide awareness campaign through the mobilization of the SHOFCO Urban Network (SUN) and Community Health Workers.

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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.

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Did this resource motivate you to change your behaviors?

  • Yes

In what ways did you change your behaviors as a result of this resource?

As demanded by this fast evolving outbreak, just within the past three weeks, SHOFCO has been able to activate over 97 outreach and hand washing stations, mobilized over 90 Community Health Workers and over 536 SUN volunteers to aid in the awareness campaign. In the week of March 27, SHOFCO has reached 215,517 individuals and in one day alone, our network of hand washing stations had nearly 40,000 visitors.

This level of mobilization and reach is proof that individuals in the communities we serve understand the urgency of this issue. With its dense nature and inadequate access to clean water, nutrition, and healthcare - these communities know that should COVID-19 take hold in the slums, the impacts will be catastrophic.

Did you share this information with your network?

  • Yes

In what ways did you share this information?

Facebook and WhatsApp are the primary means for communication. We are currently working the government and other NGOs to create a dynamic, two-way method of sharing information and questions from slum residents to the national response mechanism. 

Where are you getting information around COVID-19?

  • Local Government
  • National Government
  • WHO (World Health Organization)

What populations or personas are not currently being addressed with today’s COVID-19 information?

Before this outbreak urban slum dwellers were already marginalized and highly vulnerable. We are doubling down on our commitment to this demographic by engaging community leaders to address this challenge themselves. As the largest Kenya NGO serving urban slums, SHOFCO is deeply invested in ensuring the health of these communities. 

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Photo of eldy wullur

Awesome. Bravo !!!!!