Covid19 – does not create new, but escalates numerous problems in the slums of Nairobi

Hand washing, clean water, social distancing? But how?!?

Francis Gikufu, a Social entrepreneur who cares about young people in the Mukuru slum in Nairobi where he also lives himself, explains about the daily challenges people in the slums have to overcome right now: Fears, growing prices, the lack of food and failing support. And wrong assumptions by the people who never understood life in the slums…

“Currently its still somehow good news that Mukuru hasn’t recorded a case yet…

The situation is hard to even express it. But its time that we all arose strongly to overcome this monster.

There is great fear and panic all over. The virus is not visible. It has not brought about new challenges to the slum community to be precise. Instead, it has escalated the already numerous problems.

Most relies on daily labour to earn the next meal, companies have closed, Nairobi, Kenya’s capital where the slum is located is currently on a 21 day lockdown, which we guess shall be even extended further. To add more to this, we are on a curfew. Only allowed to be out of our houses between 5am to 7pm.

Where do we get food? Where do we seek treatment? Where do we run to?

To help stop the spread of the virus, WHO, the government and the ministry of Health have given great guidelines which include:-

  1. Constant washing of hands for at least 20 seconds with clean running water and soap.

Is clean drinking water even available in Mukuru, let alone affordable? So will it be possible to observe this? Your guess is as right as mine.

  1. Social Distancing.

Let’s be real, this is a foreign language. We have a population of 700,000 and counting. All these squeezed in such small shanties that are surrounded by dirty small streams and heaps of garbage.

  1. The sky rocketing prices of basic commodity including Sanitizer, soap, food, among others.

If this invisible monster gets to our environment, that’s is located in the capital Nairobi that has already been marked as the Covid-19 hot point having recorded the most positive cases.

An incident that was meant to help the slum communities ended up being regrettable as well as catching global attention. A food donation by a number of well wisher was not only expired, but also led to two middle aged women losing their lives and scores injured as the residents scrambled for the handful food donations. …. The next donation target was other slums including our own Mukuru.

As a project, we are engaged in helping the community on various ways.

A. Community sensitization/Community awareness on Covid-19.

We are helping the community understand more on the disease.
Translating the materials with relevant information on Covid-19. With this, we aim to help the community get timely and correct information.

B. Due to unaffordable alcohol sanitizer and soap. We are training them to make liquid soap that is a less costly. With about three dollars, one is able to make five litres of the liquid soap. This is helping the families get soap to wash hands and have more to sell and make an amount to support the family.

C. The government has enforced a law that you must be on a face mask. However the prices of the masks has risen drastically. The cheapest a hand made mask is going for is half a dollar, which is still hard for most people. Hence we are training women and youths to make masks and sell at affordable rates. Both in the slum and beyond.

D. We are helping women and youths to practice urban farming. This is planting vegetables especially on sacks and old car tires as well as old cans. This will help them in few weeks get some income as well as food.

With the help from our external friends, all this efforts will grow and we can reach out to more families and more households thereby helping the vast Mukuru slums survive this enemy.”

Can you help our communities in Kenya, please? If so, please donate at: or send me a note (see“who are we in menu”) to get all local contact details so that you can send money directly.

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