Kibera CBO tops NGOs providing virus aid: survey

A Kibera community-based organisation (CBO) has been ranked as the top known organisation that has helped the needy during the coronavirus pandemic.

Shining Hope for Communities (Shofco) was polled ahead of Red Cross and other Non-Governmental Organisations according to a survey by Tifa that was released at the weekend.

Shofco scored 45 per cent while Red Cross and other NGOs had 16 per cent and 5 per cent respectively, Tifa said in the report.

The CBO has screened about 1.8 million people for Covid-19 symptoms, erected 348 handwashing stations in 17 slums, distributed cleaning supplies and delivered free water to Kibera.

According to its founder and CEO Kennedy Odede, slum dwellers bore the brunt of the virus as they lacked the infrastructure to keep it at bay.

"Covid-19 has shown the importance of community-led response to a crisis. When the community takes ownership, it becomes possible to do rapid distribution of supplies and information that keep slum residents safe during this pandemic," Odede said in a statement.

He added that his group capitalised on its network in urban slum communities to quickly mobilise and provide aid to families devastated by the pandemic.

"We are working very closely with the United Nations, UN-Habitat, OCHA, Amref, and the National Government Covid-19 Community Task Force to ensure that we reach all informal settlements in Kenya," said Odede.

Pandemic rumours

Shofco has also rolled out a rumour tracking platform to counter increased misinformation, particularly in such settlements where many people do not have access to authoritative media.

The SMS platform enables residents to ask questions and get the right information that helps them to protect themselves and their families from contracting the virus.

"To date, we have enrolled 351,054 contacts in our SMS platform and analysed 7,643 household-level survey responses," said Odede.

Shofco says it has distributed aid to Kibera, Mathare, Mukuru kwa Njenga, Kawangware, Korogocho, Nyalenda, Obunga, Maweni, Bangladesh, Mishomoroni, Likoni, Kamukunji, Manyatta, and Soweto slums.