ACORN Kenya: Organizing in Korogocho During Coronavirus

ACORN Kenya: Organizing in Korogocho During Coronavirus

Report from Sammy Ndirangu, ACORN Kenya organizer.

It’s now nearly two months since the first case of Corona Virus was reported in Kenya. Currently there are 396 persons who have contacted the virus with a death toll of 17 people in the whole country with 144 people fully recovered from the infection. Nairobi has been on the lead of the highest number of infections followed by Mombasa.

The government has instituted a National wide curfew that is scheduled to end by the end of this month. Also there has been a complete lock down of four counties that have reported cases of virus which includes Nairobi, Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale.

Country wide all the schools and other institutions are still closed, that includes all forms of gathering including the churches or other religions.  Majority of the business closed down including all the shopping malls and this has made life so difficult and demanding. 

Korogocho being one of the poorest settlements and our main point of organizing has been greatly affected by this pandemic of Corona 19 corona virus. It has been a very difficult times for the people particularly on meeting some of these conditions set by the ministry, such as the social distancing within the community due to the high population and the housing condition and their status in that you find families living in an average of 5 to 10 people under one room of 10×10, others sharing common facility like latrine in an average of 15 to 50 people, poor sanitation and garbage disposal.

Majority of our members depend entirely on small scale business which picks well from evening hour and with the government issuing the curfew order from 7pm to 5:00am in the morning this has left the community members hopeless with no food to eat and no money to support their family.

Community members are in dire need of food and water, they don’t have sanitizers to protect themselves from contacting the disease.

However despite all these situation we have been in constant communication with our members  through phone call and short messaging (SMS)encouraging them and also emphasizing on the importance of adhering to the ministry of health instructions to contain and avoid the spread of the virus among our people.

 We have also been trying to reach out to different friend and organization requesting for the support for our members and in response, few Organizations responded and although in small way, we have been able to give out sanitizers that we were able to mobilized from KoKo company and pipeline industries respectively and some food staff to the very needy cases we were able to reach out to. Much, much more is required but we have not been able to get the resources or support we require to help out our members in this current situation. 

All in all a lot is needed to support the community members who are really suffering and at great risk of getting the infection. Government has done very little to support the poor within these settlements and the little that has been out sometimes ends in the hands of those who still have living the needy helpless.