Shining Hope for Communities (Shofco) has donated 60 handwashing stations to Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) to mark Global Handwashing Day.
At a ceremony held at NMS offices on State House Road, the chief guest, NMS director of health Dr Ouma Oluga, lauded Shofco for their contribution in the fight against Covid-19 in Nairobi’s informal settlements and across the country.
“We have been great partners with Shofco not only in the fight against Covid-19 but also in the distribution of water in the informal settlements. As NMS we are drilling 190 boreholes in the informal settlements while Shofco has their own water kiosks,” DR Oluga said.
Dr Oluga said the partnership between NMS and Shofco will not stop at the donation of the handwashing stations.
“This is just the beginning. Coronavirus is still here with us and we encourage people to continue observing containment measures,” he added.
Shofco chief operating officer Dr Caroline Kisia who represented the organisation’s CEO Kennedy Odede said the donation is part of their programme to fight Covid-19 in the informal settlements across Kenya.
“We would like to sensitise people on the importance of washing hands, and as part of Shofco's contribution to this cause, we are partnering with the NMS and we are donating 60 handwashing stations that will be located in 30 buildings across the CBD.
“The objective is to make it easier and convenient for people to wash hands,” she said.
Dr Kisia said since they rolled out handwashing stations, there has been a reduction of Covid-19 cases and other hygiene -related illnesses.
“We have had a reduction in diarrhoea cases in our clinics since the introduction of the handwashing stations in Kibera and Mathare slums. So the stations have also been useful in the fight against other diseases,” she added.
Shofco has also been spearheading water supply in Kibera and Mathare slums in a programme they say will be spread countrywide in the near future.
Glancing at the skyline of Kibera slums in Nairobi, one will notice a network of power lines and blue overhead water piping system.
Huge, blue water tanks that supply the precious commodity to the residents are also visible, even from kilometres away. Four years ago, the skyline of the country’s biggest slum was quite different. It was only jam-packed with power lines and television aerials.
Suspended pipes sought to crack down on vandalism and theft of pipes and end contamination of water while it was being supplied to up to 100,000 slum dwellers.
For decades, water cartels in the slum had made it almost impossible to supply affordable water via underground pipes.
A 20-litre jerrican at a Shofco kiosk goes for Sh2, while the same goes for between Sh5 and Sh10 at water vendors, particularly those controlled by cartels.
Damaris Awino, a resident from Lower Katwikira, Kibera, said overhead piping has made water supply reliable and cheap.
“Water supply is constant because there are no leakages or cases of vandalism. The cost of water also went down drastically. We are no longer at the mercy of cartels,” she said.
“We also get free water on some days. Because of this, we guard the pipes and kiosks as if they are our property,” she added.