Handwashing was considered one of the most effective ways to fight Corona Virus. Poverty, poor infrastructure, limited clean water and unhygienic conditions however made handwashing very difficult in the slum setup.
We carried out a handwashing sensitization campaigns and setup handwashing points across the nine villages of Korogocho slum. These handwashing points have been strategically located across the main entry and exit points where majority of the slum population can access freely clean running water and soap.
Selected youth groups from Korogocho slum, have facilitated constant supply of clean water and soap at these points and help the disabled persons access these handwashing points, so that as many slum dwellers can hand wash, reducing risk of infection and spread of Corona virus.
In addition to the many challenges, Corona Virus has resulted in the following negative impacts among slum dwellers;
– contributed to rising number of gender based and domestic violence cases
– caused high cases of early pregnancy among teenage girls
– increased crime rate, drugs and alcohol abuse
– reduced job chances and as well as resulting in loss of jobs that were existing before
– interrupted children school learning process
– generated psychological torture
– interfered with human social practices that people were used to
– increased hunger among family members
The above negative situations resulted by Covid-19 have accelerated poverty situation in Korogocho slum and made the lives of Korogocho slum residents to become harder than before. Out of the situation, the people who suffer most are children. The difficult life situation currently being experienced in Korogocho slum by the slum dwellers is negatively affecting the lives of young people that Ayiera Initiative (AI) work to improve. Coronavirus situation in Korogocho slum is indeed hindering the children’s upright development. Covid-19 has also resulted to a lot of domestic violence cases which some have resulted to serious permanent injuries and even deaths of the people involved (parents), the deaths out of the violence, automatically rendered the affected children instant orphans.
Our counsellors have over the pandemic period provided free counselling and psychological support onsite and offsite to affected individuals and children in Korogocho slum.
Corona Virus pandemic has resulted in many challenges especially for the poor slum dwellers. Majority of slum dwellers depend on casual jobs which sometimes are hard to come by. Those who are lucky to get employed are not paid well enough and therefore have to squeeze the little they earn to make ends meet.
Covid worsened the already terrible situation, many companies either closed down or downscaled their operations to meet the pressure of a non-performing economy, more and more people lost their jobs as a result. Moreover, those who depended on casual jobs could not go out to look for jobs, the government restricted movement, besides, the government had urged its citizens to STAY-AT-HOME.
Loss of jobs and sources of income, meant that many households could not afford their sources of livelihood. More and more slum dwellers found it difficult to afford even a meal a day.
We have so far donated relief food packages to over 900 Korogocho slum residents to cushion them against the harsh impacts of Corona Virus. We have also been able to distribute relief food packages deep in the slums to those who could not access the food packages at our Centre due to disability or a medical condition.
The outbreak of Corona Virus and the continuous rise in infections in Kenya and particularly Nairobi increased the vulnerability of many young girls in the slums of Korogocho. Besides suspension of most economic activities devastating people’s means of livelihood. Further, with the loss of livelihoods particularly in low-income households, some children were forced into income-generating activities to support their families’ survival. It also led to the closure of learning institutions stopping the provision of free sanitary towels, which children from disadvantaged families rely on significantly. This raised the risk of young girls engaging in transactional sex in order to gain not only access to these essential needs but also to support their families.
During the pandemic, a lot of concern was raised on the rising number of early teenage pregnancies. Young girls get involved into involuntary sex in order to get what they are lacking and they are in dire need of i.e food, sanitary towels. The girls are lured with small money to help them buy food or sanitary towels which their parents/guardians are not able to buy for them due to the current hard economic times.
With provision of free sanitary towels to the vulnerable and marginalised young girls in the slums, through this, we strive to continuously empower and support adolescent girls especially during their periods by not only providing sanitary towels but also educating them about menstruation and menstrual hygiene. This intervention is a great way in supporting the slum girls by making sure that they can focus on their dreams and pass through menstruation with dignity.
We have used visual art and illustrative messages on walls across Korogocho that explaining basic hygiene procedures and measures to safeguard people from COVID-19 pandemic. The mural art paintings are used to sensitize the community to continuously observe the recommended precautionary measures against Corona Virus.