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.
Dec 11, 2013

Saving Children's Lives at Lishe Bora Mtaani, CFK's Nutrition Center

Isaac with his mother, Esther (left), and Francis.
Isaac with his mother, Esther (left), and Francis.

When CFK met Isaac in May of this year he weighed 6 kgs (~13 lbs), at 13 months old.  The normal weight of a child his age in Kenya is usually around 8 kgs (~18 lbs).  That may not seem like a lot, but it is for a young child. 

During a community screening for malnutrition, CFK Community Health Workers (CHWs) met Isaac and his parents.  Isaac’s mother is a housewife who, at the time, had just moved to Kibera from the rural areas with her son to be with her husband, Isaac’s father, who works as a casual laborer.  Only making 150 shillings (~$1.75) a day, the minimal income wasn’t enough to provide for the family, and Isaac’s health showed it.

Not only was Isaac severely malnourished, but he suffered from anemia, pneumonia and developmental delays.  Doctors at CFK’s Tabitha Medical Clinic recommended that Isaac be admitted to Mbagathi Hospital for eight weeks.  Not able to cover their usual day-to-day expenses, Isaac’s family was worried about the hospital expenses.  Thanks to the support from CFK’s Health Department emergency fund, the bill of 4,800 shillings (~$56) was covered, and Isaac was released from the hospital weighing 6.7 kgs (~15 lbs).

After being released from the hospital, Isaac was enrolled in CFK’s Lishe Bora nutrition center where he was fed every two hours, with feeding supplements and balanced meals and snacks.  As part of the holistic program, Isaac’s mother took classes on preparing balanced meals for her child and on the importance of good hygiene and sanitation for families living in Kibera.  After just two months in the centre, Isaac was able to stand and walk on his own and was beginning to speak, all developmental milestones he previously hadn’t reached.  He was finally discharged from the nutrition center weighing 18 lbs.

Isaac’s journey still continues.  He and his family receive weekly home visits from the nutrition center and CHW teams at CFK to make sure Isaac continues to progress.  In November, I joined CFK Nutritionist, Esther and CHW Francis as they visited Isaac in his home.  A shy but clearly loved and happy little boy, Isaac recognized Esther when she arrived at his home.  Isaac’s mother held and hugged her little boy, talking to Esther about how she was able to change meal preparations to make them more nutritionally rich and healthy for her family, something she learned from Lishe Bora.  She told Esther that if it weren’t for CFK, she may have lost her son.  Esther replied, “This is what we do.  We’re just doing our part for the health of the kids.”

Oct 11, 2013

More and More Performances for the CFK Sprinters

So much is happening with the jump rope program at Carolina for Kibera (CFK)!

To begin with, the number of performances they give has increased from twice a week to four times a week.  Participants in the jump rope program get to show their talents as they perform during community outreach events for other CFK programs (sports, girls’ empowerment, health, education, etc), including at a World Peace Day event.

Secondly, the team has been getting more attention outside the community as well as they have been invited to perform at the Nairobi City Stadium by the Coalition for Peace in Africa (COPA) and Coca-Cola.

Also, Innocent Nyangori, one of the jump rope team’s coaches, was invited to attend a meeting called by the South Africa Gymnastic Federation (SAGF) where many African countries were represented. “The meeting was to forge the way for jump rope in Africa,” shared Innocent. And, in line with that mission, in December, CFK will be co-hosting a five-day East Africa Jump Rope Junior Championship.

All of these opportunities demonstrate the power of peace, and how sports can help improve understanding of each other and our differences.

Oct 11, 2013

Community Forums for Adolescent Girls

One of the elements that makes CFK’s Daughters United program (Binti Pamoja) effective in reaching young girls is its cascading leadership style which nurtures the leadership qualities of adolescent girls. When girls join the program, not only are they taught about confidence, reproductive health, life skills, creative arts and financial literacy, but they are mentored and trained on how to organize their own girls’ groups and how to facilitate what they learn with others.

One way this mentorship is practiced is through community forum events organized by Carolina for Kibera.  At community forums, the girls from Binti Pamoja invite their friends from the community, who are not in the program, for a fun event to inform them on the different activities that Binti Pamoja does. While community forums are regular events that happen two to three times a year, recently the Binti Pamoja program hosted a community forum with a total of 175 guests!

These forums give Binti Pamoja participants the chance to practice their facilitation skills. They take charge of the event by organizing who will be the Master of Ceremony (MC), who will serve as facilitators, who will educate the guests on a particular topic, etc. Before the forum they also have to bring a written plan of what they will present to the Carolina for Kibera staff. Some of the presentations that have taken place at community forums include: facilitation on reproductive health and later an interactive session of question, answers and clarification; skits with particular themes; and dances. Passing on knowledge in this cascading style is important for strengthening community, and these community forums are doing just that.

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