26 Jun Our model of sustainability at work
In mid-March, the world as we knew it stopped. Schools and stores closed in North America and around the world. In Kenya, public transportation came to a standstill triggering a number of unintended consequences — cutting off access to food and healthcare. With families no longer having access to food, healthcare and other resources, we knew we needed to act quickly.
Working with WE, our partner in Kenya, a plan was developed, SAVE a Village, to utilize key elements of our 5-Pillar development model to ensure our beloved Kenyan families survived this pandemic by providing them with much-needed food, medical care, supplies and COVID-19 prevention information.
Thanks to our amazing team on the ground, here’s just a snapshot of what’s been accomplished so far…
One of our biggest concerns has been the availability of food. It has been nearly impossible for families to source food during the pandemic. Through a partnership with SERV International, we were able to provide over 35,000 nutritional meals to the most vulnerable families in our communities.
Produced by farmers in Kenya and packed at a warehouse in Nairobi, each 2.2lb bag of shelf-stable dehydrated food is a nutritious blend of sukuma (kale), carrots, onions, lentils, vegetable, rice, vitamins, minerals, and salt.
Seeds were also distributed door-to-door so that families could grow vegetables in their home gardens.
Members of the medical team and volunteers headed out on foot and in vehicles every day committed to reaching as many people as humanly possible with information on how to social distance, wash hands properly, and disseminate strategies to curb the spread of the virus. It hasn’t been easy!
It’s the spring rainy season and many of the roads have been washed out. But these teams won’t give up. Rain or shine, they’re committed to reaching every man, woman and child in all 17 of the Unstoppable Communities with life-saving food and supplies.
To date, through the community trainings and outreach campaign, the team has traveled an incredible 4,863 miles (7,827 km) – further than the distance between Florida and UK — reaching more than 32,400 community members.
So far, Kenya has seen 2,472 cases and 79 deaths. Infection rates are on an upward trajectory, but mostly confined to dense, populous cities.
The medical team has finalized setting up the field hospital which includes a screening area, holding area for patients who are waiting for their test results, and a treatment facility for COVID-19 patients. To date, no one has required quarantine or isolation.
Workers are also busy setting up a separate facility for hospital staff, as it won’t be safe for them to return home.
As part of the door-to-door campaign, trained community members are helping households set up handwashing stations. Demand for clean water has increased by 200% as community members make use of makeshift handwashing stations in public areas and at their homes. It’s great seeing families put into practice the good hygiene they’ve learned through our Healthcare Pillar.
Our Income Training & Empowerment Pillar was created to empower parents, mothers in particular, with financial independence that allows them to support their families and keep their children in school and out of child labor.
As a result of the COVID-19 shutdown, opportunities for many Kenyans to earn an income has been severely reduced or eliminated, but that hasn’t deterred many mamas in our communities as they pool their skills and resources to address the pandemic through enterprising activities.
Sarah K. is helping her family and her community by making masks and selling them to community members for a nominal fee.
Leah S., a mother of six boys and one girl, is working with other women to manufacture soap every week. Demand for soap is high because the people from her community are taking the advice to wash their hands with soap regularly, increasing the need.
However, the majority cannot afford to buy regular soap and prefer to get it from Leah who has reduced her price since the outbreak of the virus to make it affordable for everyone. Leah takes much of the profit she makes from the soap to buy more ingredients so that she can continue to make soap for her community. She’s also giving soap to people who cannot afford it.
Leah believes that by making the soap affordable and giving it for free to those who cannot afford it, she is contributing to the fight against COVID-19. Her aim is to see her fellow community members emerge through this pandemic with victory.
Our Rongena, Laila, Pimbiniet, and Osenetoi women’s and men’s groups have also been deployed to educate community members about COVID-19 prevention.
We’re hopeful that the outreach and awareness campaign will keep the infection rate to a minimum and our communities will be able to open up once again, kids will get back to school, and family members will soon be able to thrive because of the generosity of our supporters.