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.
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.

Mar 4, 2014

Clean Hands Save Lives

During a monthly parents’ meeting at CFK’s Nutrition Center, a young mother gets up and walks towards a makeshift hand-washing station at the front of the room. A Community Health Worker (CHW) is standing next to it, encouraging volunteers to come up and try it out. The young mother giggles as she turns to the other parents, who are standing and leaning between each other to watch. She then turns and begins to wash her hands. When she is finished, the CHW applauds her and asks the other parents what they saw. “She didn’t wash under her fingernails,” one mother says. “She needed to wash farther up her wrists,” says another.

This forum is jovial and friendly, but behind the community laughter is the hard truth that anyone living in Kenya learns: clean hands save lives. Unlike in the US where bacteria and parasites are usually separated from our food, water, and way of life, in Kibera, there is no separation. The best protection against water born diseases, food poisoning and cross contamination illnesses is proper sanitation and hygiene, with hand-washing being a large part of this.

Thanks to the support of Ronald McDonald House of Charity (RMHC) CFK’s integrated health programs have been rallying the community to pay close attention to hand washing as part of their daily routines. The campaign “Your Health is in Your Hands” is being promoted across CFK programs.

The Tabitha Clinic, in partnership with CDC, recently noted that the incidences of typhoid have reduced. Typhoid is a serious disease that is connected with areas where water is contaminated and there is a lack of sanitation. While it’s not certain why cases have reduced in Kibera, clinicians have speculated that the increased education of hand washing and better sanitation practices have made an impact in stopping the spread of the disease.

CFK determined that its first priority for this behavior change program would be to focus on population groups whose practices have the greatest influence on children, as they are at a higher risk of serious, long-term health issues and developmental problems as a result of illnesses. So far, the campaign has reached 1,541 households with children under the age of five, 32 pregnant women and 16 traditional birth attendants who regularly help women give birth at home and interact with pregnant women and new mothers.

While the repetition of hand-washing information can seem superfluous to those looking in from the outside, the reminders and continuous dialogue about the issue build long-term habits for healthier living. For this reason, CHWs take their time visiting households and continue to hold forums to talk about the critical nature of hand-washing and proper sanitation and hygiene for the long-term health of families.

Jan 8, 2014

Celebrating the International Day of the Girl Child

The UN recognizes 11 October as the International Day of the Girl Child.  Throughout the world, essential rights for women and girls remain unfulfilled or ignored, including access to education, reproductive health, and to live free of gender-based violence.  In Kibera, the situation is very much the same.

The International Day of the Girl Child is celebrated worldwide—and, as Binti Pamoja, we organized an event to celebrate adolescent girls in Kibera.

During the event, girls came together to showcase their different talents.  Some of the activities included performance of poetry, skits, dances, and modeling.  The girls had several opportunities to talk to each other and share on the different challenges they face in Kibera, especially how they are not treated with the same amount of respect as boys.  They have to really work harder to be at the same level with the boys.  Often, they lack goods or services like sanitary towels, an essential item, or a space in which they can express themselves.

All in all, the girls are very happy that despite the challenges they are facing, progress is being made.  There is a huge difference compared to some years back as more girls are getting vital information about their health, education, and well-being.  The celebration reinvigorated the girls to reach out to their friends with the aim of spreading information on issues of reproductive health and women's empowerment.   

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