Carolina for Kibera, Inc.

Run by Kenyans and advised by American and Kenyan volunteers, CFK's mission is to promote youth leadership and ethnic cooperation in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya through sports, young women's empowerment, and community development. Additionally, CFK works to improve basic healthcare, sanitation, and education in Kibera.
May 21, 2014

Preventing Polio from Spreading to Kibera

CHWs during the polio immunization campaign.
CHWs during the polio immunization campaign.

Health organizations worldwide treat even a single case of polio very seriously.  According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, “Most people infected with the polio virus have no signs of illness and are never aware they have been infected. For this reason, the WHO considers a single confirmed case of polio paralysis to be evidence of an epidemic – particularly in countries where very few cases occur.”

In 2013, 14 cases of polio were reported from the refugee camp in Dadaab (located in Northeastern Kenya). This was Kenya’s first occurrence of the disease since 2011. In response to the reported cases, the government of Kenya, supported by UNICEF and the WHO, began a polio immunization campaign in areas where the risk of polio is highest, such as in the refugee camps, on the borders, etc. Nairobi was also identified as a risk area, due to its population and transient nature. Social mobilization campaigns were organized within communities to draw awareness to the risk of polio, the importance of immunizations, and places/times where immunizations are available.

Carolina for Kibera’s volunteer Community Health Workers (CHWs) were rallied into the campaign. The government set the target of reaching 95% of children under the age of five (the most vulnerable population) in the three villages where CFK’s health programs operate. CHWs got to work, going door-to-door talking to their neighbors about getting their children immunized against polio.

Recently a report of the polio immunization campaign was released that indicated the targeted number of children under the age of five to be reached (11,123) in the villages where CFK works was met and surpassed by 32%. This means that a total of 14,651 children were immunized against polio and that CHWs managed to reach beyond the target to new families who had moved into the area or those who were passing through the three villages. None of the other villages in Kibera surpassed their targets. The second highest reach was 92%.

Not only does the polio campaign illustrate the effective way a community can rally around a cause and support one another, but it shows the high level of organization and trust that is present in places where CFK’s health program operates.

Apr 8, 2014

In Celebration of Being Women

80 girls from the Binti Pamoja (Daughter’s United) program packed into the Binti Pamoja Centre to celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8). An event organized by CFK and Binti Pamoja participants every year, the staff explained the importance of the annual event saying, “Some may not care to celebrate women, but we can celebrate ourselves, to show that we matter and can motivate one another. We are working with these young girls so they can become so much more than is expected of them, and this event is part of that process.”

In a meeting room decorated with art produced by the girls, the participants of the event took turns showcasing their talents. Starting with dramas about female genital mutilation (FGM) and early marriages, the girls illustrated some of what they have learned so far from being in the Binti Pamoja program. Next were speeches by Emily and Jennifer, two young girls (14 and 13 years old) who eloquently spoke about what the past year as a Binti participant has meant to them. Poems, dancing, and a fashion show followed. The day ended with food and drinks as the girls enjoyed being together in celebration of their being women.

Jennifer performing a poem
Jennifer performing a poem
Apr 8, 2014

Announcing the Official Jump Rope Association of Kenya!

David and Abdul with the new certificate
David and Abdul with the new certificate

It’s official—the Jump Rope Association of Kenya has been registered with the Kenyan government and now the work to build a national network of jump ropers has begun! In typical registration fashion, the registration took several months to process. When CFK got the call that the association had been registered, Program Officer Abdul Hussein and Jump Rope Instructor David Okoth immediately went to the city center of Nairobi to proudly collect the certificate.

With the association now official, the CFK Sports Association is thinking through the next steps of building the network and developing jump rope as an income-generating activity for youth. Because the CFK Sprinters (the name of the CFK jump rope team that performs) have been requested for many events due to the enthusiasm audiences have for the jumpers’ talents, the association will support the team as they expand to new audiences while also making money to support their educations and the jump rope program. The registration of the Jump Rope Association of Kenya is a big step in making jump rope the next big sport for all of Kenya! CFK is proud to be part of the movement and looking forward to seeing how the program expands.

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