Responding to Covid-19 challenges in Nairobi informal settlements
The Centre for Urban Mission in Nairobi is working across the informal settlements to distribute food, hygiene relief and care packs. The initiative is aimed at supporting 900 families, and so far 2,994 individuals have been cushioned from starvation for a month. Whilst this number is incredibly impressive, it is about half of the targeted households which need to be reached.
There is no doubt the situation in Nairobi is deeply worrying. The rate of infection is extremely high, exacerbated by inadequate ventilation, drainage, clean water and sewerage facilities within the informal settlements. As a consequence of covid-19, many people have lost their livelihoods and their incomes, the situation compounded by disruption to supply chains resulting in large fluctuations in price and availability of food. Families are living with the threat of lack of food, no money to pay rent and affordability of heath care is also a challenge.
CUM staff are working hard to connect with community leaders through social media and are battling to produce sufficient numbers of relief packs. The priority for the distribution of parcels has been to those families where the child is the head of the household, or where there are vulnerable family members.
Each care pack costs £20 to feed a family for 6 weeks, inside there is a range of food and health care items. These include maize, rice, cooking oil wheat flour, tea leaves, sugar, salt, milk, sanitary towels, soap, and tissue paper. In addition, the team add a devotional for families and a story book for children.
Simon Peter, Director at CUM reported to us that there has been an increase in violence, particularly against women, as a result of Covid-19. CUM are looking at ways they can support healing for individuals as well as whole communities through counselling, training and talking therapies.