COVID-19  Kenya Project #48153

Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera

by Carolina for Kibera, Inc.
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Funding Frontline COVID-19 Response in Kibera
Hillary Omala supporting work in Nakuru County
Hillary Omala supporting work in Nakuru County

Though many countries and communities around the world are beginning to ease COVID-19 restrictions, residents of informal settlements continue to suffer disproportionately from the indirect effects of the pandemic. 

Since beginning COVID-19 vaccine distribution in October 2021, our Tabitha Medical Clinic has administered over 4,000 jabs, reaching community members who may have otherwise been unable to access these critical vaccines. We also continued mitigating COVID-19 at the community level, training 400 Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) last year across two counties to promote positive health behaviors throughout informal settlements. 

Quinter Obat, a CHV since 2018, has been selling handmade soap and training other CHVs and women in Kibera to make their own soap. Since early 2020, Quinter has trained 60 women in soap making, helping them stay safe and providing them a way to earn money throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My biggest dream is to see a community with healthy people, cleanliness, and women who are willing and able to earn money for themselves and their families,” Quinter said. “When I first came to CFK, I didn’t have any skills, but now I am somewhere, and that is because of CFK. I have benefitted by gaining skills, being able to train other CHVs and women in my community, and earning a stipend. I am really grateful for what CFK has done here in Kibera because it is amazing.” 

In addition to serving our community, we have continued to expand our impact by sharing best practices with additional counties and national and international media. Over the last year, our COVID-19 response has been highlighted by Voice of AmericaSTATScience NewsNTVCTVKirkTVZDF, and KBC Channel 1. Additionally, our Executive Director, Hillary Omala, was recently selected to join the writing committee of Nakuru County’s 2022-2026 Community Health Services strategy alongside the County’s Community Health Department, USAID, and the Financing Alliance for Health.

Furthermore, we are working to identify and mitigate the negative economic impacts of COVID-19 in our community. We recently partnered with faculty at Kenyatta University to publish a journal article titled “The Impact of Covid-19 on the Wellbeing of School-Going Children in Kibra Slum, Nairobi, Kenya.” Findings demonstrated that approximately 70% of parents in Kibera completely or partially lost their income since the start of the pandemic and had to reduce the number of meals they fed to their children. Additionally, 90% of parents reported not being able to afford the learning materials their children needed for school.

In response to these findings, we have begun expanding our support for individual and household economic strengthening. Last year alone, we helped prepare 388 youth for an increasingly competitive workplace through vocational skills and financial literacy training, and we hope to reach more this year.

At the start of this year, we changed our name from Carolina for Kibera (CFK) to CFK Africa as a signal of our growth to additional informal settlements in Nairobi County and across seven new counties in Kenya. Through integrated primary health care services, education and youth leadership initiatives, and economic development programming, we expect to directly impact an additional 1.5 million people living in some of Kenya’s most challenging environments over the next five years. With a focus on health systems strengthening and building economic resilience, we will ensure that informal settlements are well-equipped to identify, mitigate, and respond to future public health crises such as COVID-19.

Thank you for being part of this important work. Forward together.

CFK expanding its work across eight counties
CFK expanding its work across eight counties
Quinter, a CHV,  working in Kibera
Quinter, a CHV, working in Kibera

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CFK Executive Director Hillary Omala donating PPE
CFK Executive Director Hillary Omala donating PPE

Despite the growing availability of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, significant disparities in access remain. Out of the over 6 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines administered worldwide, just 2% of them have been in Africa. As of October 13, over 55% of the population in the United States has been fully immunized against the virus. In Kenya, the ratio is less than 4%.

COVID-19 vaccines have been available in Kenya since March 2021, but access for many remains largely limited. In crowded urban areas, long lines and insufficient distribution sites have forced some to delay getting the vaccine. In rural areas, lack of infrastructure and formidable terrain have posed challenges for vaccine transportation and mobile clinics.

In October, CFK's Tabitha Medical Clinic became one of the first facilities in Kibera approved to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, including AstraZeneca, Moderna, and Pfizer. To date, the team has administered over 180 doses. CFK has also supported vaccine distribution in Kiambu County, one of the organization's new priority areas.

While beginning expansion work to seven new counties in Kenya and other informal settlements in Nairobi County, CFK recognized many similar challenges concerning vaccine distribution and uptake and formed relationships with health officials across the country. After learning more about the organization and its capabilities, the Ministry of Health contacted CFK and asked for assistance in distributing COVID-19 vaccines in Kiambu County.

"The government is providing the vaccines, but they need help distributing them to the community," said Yunus Mohammed, CFK's Community Health Outreach Program Officer. "At CFK, we found that many people work six or seven days a week from sun up to sun down and don't have time to take off and travel to a distribution site."

In response, CFK developed a new strategy, identifying where large groups of unvaccinated people work and establishing nearby, central locations where community members can access the vaccine in just a few minutes. As part of the effort, CFK is also training Community Health Volunteers on COVID-19 mitigation measures and water, sanitation, and hygiene to promote positive health-seeking behaviors throughout the community.

CFK staff member preparing a COVID-19 vaccine
CFK staff member preparing a COVID-19 vaccine
CFK staff distributing resources
CFK staff distributing resources

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CFK training WASH Champions.
CFK training WASH Champions.

Even as COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available, CFK remains committed to reducing the spread of the virus and addressing the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic in Kibera. Earlier this year, we worked with schools and teachers, providing resources like masks, handwashing stations, and thermometers to help students return to class safely.  

Most recently, our Community Health Outreach team collaborated with the Kibera Sub-County Health Coordinator to select and train 22 students as water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) Champions. The WASH Champions participated in a one-day training where they learned about proper handwashing techniques and other COVID-19 mitigation measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing. These young WASH Champions will promote positive health behaviors in their classrooms and homes, helping their communities stay safe. 

CFK also partnered with the Machakos County Government to donate 250 dignity kits to vulnerable girls at the Kyaviti primary and secondary schools. Additionally, as food insecurity remains high due to the pandemic, CFK continues to support families with food packages and critical nutrition services 

Last week, we distributed food packages to 240 households from five different villages in Kibera. Our nutrition team also recently introduced a kitchen sack garden at our Lishe Bora Mtaani Nutrition Centre. The sack garden helps us provide malnourished children with a healthy diet full of macro and micronutrients. It also serves as a learning center where caregivers can learn how to create their own kitchen gardens and cook nutritious meals without increasing their daily budgets. 

To date, less than 2% of the Kenyan population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. We appreciate your continued support as we work to contain the virus and alleviate the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic in our community and beyond. Asante sana (thank you). 

CFK distributing dignity kits to girls.
CFK distributing dignity kits to girls.
CFK staff planting our kitchen sack garden.
CFK staff planting our kitchen sack garden.

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CFK's Ambulance
CFK's Ambulance

The first case of COVID-19 in Kenya was reported just over one year ago. Since then, CFK has been conducting a coordinated, multi-level response. To date, our Tabitha Medical Clinic has collected more than 4,700 coronavirus samples for testing, and our team of trained Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) continues to support contact tracing and sensitization efforts throughout the community. The team at Tabitha Maternity Home was recognized by the Gates Foundation as Frontline Heroes for ensuring continuity of care for expectant mothers throughout the pandemic. In late 2020, CFK purchased and began operating an ambulance to provide affordable emergency transportation to Kibera residents. 

Since handwashing is a critical and cost-effective part of reducing the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19, CFK dramatically expanded its water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) project over the last year. Our team has installed more than 1,500 household and community handwashing stations, distributed more than 15,000 liters of locally made soap, and led soap-making demonstrations throughout the community. 

Most recently, in collaboration with CFK’s Education and Livelihoods team, the WASH project partnered with local schools to ensure that teachers and students had the knowledge and resources they needed to safely return to in-person learningAfter a 10-month hiatus, schools across Kenya reopened in January, but many public and private schools in Kibera lacked critical resources such as masks, soap, and operable handwashing stations. In response, CFK has worked with 88 schools to: 

  • Install handwashing tanks, 
  • Renovate handwashing blocks, 
  • Make soap and lead soap-making demonstrations to help schools save money,
  • Distribute informative material to combat misinformation 
  • Provide hygiene kits, masks, sanitizer, and thermal guns. 

Newly recognized as the CDC’s lead implementing partner for WASH in informal settlements, CFK will be expanding its WASH activities to additional informal settlements this year, drawing on the lessons it has learned to impact thousands more. 

CFK Community Handwashing Station
CFK Community Handwashing Station
Community Members Using CFK WASH Station
Community Members Using CFK WASH Station
CFK Water Tanks
CFK Water Tanks
CFK Staff Providing WASH Resources to Schools
CFK Staff Providing WASH Resources to Schools
CFK Staff Making Soap
CFK Staff Making Soap

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Though the COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every person in the world in some way, those living in informal settlements like Kibera continue to experience challenges disproportionately. Characterized by overcrowding, high unemployment rates, food insecurity, and a lack of access to basic services such as healthcare and clean water, Kibera is a vulnerable environment where residents are at a high-risk of infection. In these conditions, social distancing and self-isolation are virtually impossible.   

Rooted in the Kibera community for nearly 20 years, CFK's participatory development approach has earned the organization and its staff the trust of residents and community leaders. During the COVID-19 pandemic, CFK has addressed the needs of Kibera residents in a timely and efficient manner, engaging directly with the community to understand the unique challenges facing informal settlements during this public health emergency. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the effectiveness of CFK's participatory development model and emphasized its strengths in facilitating multi-sectoral partnerships and providing comprehensive health services.  

 

Through collaborations with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI), we coordinated coronavirus sample collection and contact tracing efforts, trained community health volunteers (CHVs) on WASH activities and contact tracing protocols, and implemented health and safety measures for frontline healthcare staff. Tabitha Medical Clinic remains one of the few clinics in Kibera able to collect COVID-19 samples, and Tabitha Maternity Home has remained open 24/7. To date, CFK has collected more than 2,900 coronavirus samples.

Our multi-sectoral response also included establishing a home-learning initiative, bringing more than 10,000 revision materials to more than 600 out-of-school students lacking access to online education resources. Alumni from CFK's Angaza scholarship project aided in this effort. CFK's CHVs have also been instrumental in installing 980 hand washing stations and distributing 3,500 liters of soap. CFK's Girls Empowerment Program (GEP) continued mentoring girls through phone calls and socially distanced home visits, and staff distributed feminine hygiene products to girls. This distribution saved girls an average of 389 KSH ($3.57 USD) each month, a significant amount for residents who frequently live on less than $2 USD per day.

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Organization Information

Carolina for Kibera, Inc.

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @cfkafrica
Project Leader:
Beth-Ann Kutchma
Administrative and Events Coordinator
Chapel Hill, North Carolina United States
$328 raised of $25,000 goal
 
4 donations
$24,672 to go
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