CFK Marks New Milestones for Coronavirus Response

Nonprofit revamped programs in Kenya in 2020 to respond to pandemic

CFK dramatically revamped its health care and education programs working with disenfranchised communities in Kenya over the last year in response to the coronavirus pandemic, shifting its focus early in 2020 to address the threat of Covid-19.

“The pandemic multiplied many of the problems already facing informal settlements,” said Executive Director Hillary Omala, who is based in Nairobi. “This makes it even more important that we help bridge the gap between community needs and available services.”

CFK’s four healthcare facilities remained open throughout the pandemic, conducting ongoing testing and using more intense sanitation techniques to keep patients safe and reduce the spread of the virus as well as train community health volunteers (CHVs) and workers on safety protocols and contact tracing efforts.

Its Tabitha Maternity Home, which marked its first year in Kibera and whose staff was recently acknowledged as Frontline Heroes by the Gates Foundation, ensured continuity of care throughout the year despite the added public health challenge. CFK also added a long-planned ambulance, which serves the greater community by providing transportation to all of CFK’s health care facilities.

In addition, a CFK team of volunteers and staff installed more than 1,500 handwashing stations and distributed over 15,000 liters of locally made soap throughout Kibera as part of its WASH program. It also collected more than 3,000 Covid-19 samples for testing last year.

With government-mandated lockdowns and school closures forcing students out of class during much of 2020, CFK’s Education and Livelihoods Program developed a home-learning initiative, while its team distributed more than 10,000 revision materials to students throughout Kibera.

Its Girls Empowerment Program increased outreach to those at risk of teen pregnancy and sexual violence due to the lockdown with innovations like phone-based mentorship and socially distant meetups.

“The threat of Covid-19 made it difficult to run many of our programs the way they’ve been done in the past, even as it made them more important,” added Omala. “We’re proud of the innovations that helped us continue making a difference in Kibera during one of the most challenging years.”

To learn more, watch a video on CFK’s response to Covid-19 in 2020: https://vimeo.com/439159597