Back in Mukuru slums in the Covid crises

The next two weeks I’m back in Kenya to meet many people and visit the different social enterprises, local partners and projects, which we are running together with our local partners – mainly in Western Kenya. And to learn how locals tackle with the Covid situation…

After the arrival in Nairobi during the first day of my stay we met some actors in Mukuru slum, among them Daphne leading Access Afya, a Microclinic in Mukuru Slums.

There are several Access Afya Microclinics in place. They check high blood pressure and diabetes, do health checks for pregnant women and are the first point of support for people who have health issues and are not able to pay for a normal doctor visit. A telemedicine system where people can contact a doctor and get medical support and also recipes is another big step that helps the slum population who in these Covid days even have less money than before to spend on healthcare.

The overall situation is bad

Many slum habitants are having less informal job opportunities than before. This hits the families who often live in very small hut, but also the most poor of the poor in very bad ways.

Many people do not have money for enough food, for hygiene protection. Paying the rent for the small hut, for electricity has become a huge challenge… the number of school drop outs is growing.

As the water delivery fails from time to time in the whole slum area a tube system has been installed. The risk of water loss and damaged tubes is high.

Water delivery in the slums

Together with Francis, one of our local partners, we visited an orphanage for girls and boys in the slums which depends on food donations. A very small team comprising a social worker and a teacher and a few volunteers is taking care of 9 girls and 12 boys.

Visiting an orphanage in Mukuru slums

In the middle of a small court there is a small water latrine to ensure the water flow for the toilets and wash basins. To avoid that children might fall in some big stones have been put around.

The water latrine to storage water for toilet flush and Handwash

That’s the room where the girls live. As not enough beds fit into, many girls sleep on the floor on mats.

The girls room at the orphanage

Overall, the situation is really critical, – many people can not even afford any protection against Covid-19, because simply the lack of money and space do not allow- and many families we visited are really tired and desperate, esp. for single mothers, elderly people and children who need to find work for being able to pay for the huts where they live in. Life here is about making sure to survive:

“Everyone here feels the impact and all the consequences of Covid-19. We have been poor before, but we had more opportunities to find daily jobs,” says one of the social workers.

The number of people being vaccinated is close to zero.

In the Microclinic first plans are made to become also a center of vaccination. If vaccines will arrive- one day in the future…

Just in case, you are interested in more details, feel free to reach out.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Francis Dagala says:

    Welcome back to kenya Manuela

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Valeria says:

    It’s great to see you are back in Kenya Manuela. It is heart breaking to read your article though. If we thought in Europe covid pushed us back, it’s probably nothing compared to the realities you describe.
    Have a nice stay and enjoy the time with your local co-workers and friends.


    1. Thanks, Valeria., for your comment and your good wishes. You are right. The definition what’s “poor“ or “rich“ , what’s a success or a crises, what’s really important in life depends so much from where and how we look at things. This applies also when it comes to feel joy and happiness and to describe something as a success or “great achievements”. Having a bed to sleep, a soap to wash, a doctor you can visit and pay when you or your child is not doing well, is a big thing!
      When you start to realize how different our perceptions are, you feel how privileged we are. And maybe you see also different ways on how you judge and engage.


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