SHOFCO And Safaricom Partnership
The Covid-19 pandemic has seen the growth of rarely seen unanimity and generosity from the business community in Kenya and the rest of the world. Safaricom is an outstanding example in support of the vulnerable communities to help them fight the coronavirus disease.
In regard to this, residents in Nairobi’s Informal Settlements have a reason to smile as the Safaricom Foundation-funded water project in partnership with SHOFCO continues. An estimated 90,000 people in Korogocho, Kawangware, Kibra, and Mathare will benefit from the water projects geared towards prevention of the spread of COVID-19.
SHOFCO Chief Executive Officer Kennedy Odede says “We are glad to partner with Safaricom Foundation in supporting these communities. Clean and reliable water supply in the city’s informal settlements will go a long way in successfully curbing the spread of coronavirus in these settlements,”
The initiative that is still ongoing began shortly after the launch on May 26th, 2020, and has since distributed over 2.2 million liters of water between 1st and 16th June 2020, with nine (9) water tanks set up in the 9 villages of Korogocho.
However, there is a fair share of challenges during the process. The lack of planning in urban slums means the water supply is always a challenge. Water is never enough and with the COVID-19 pandemic, it becomes a crisis.
Communities are left to decide between using the little water they access for domestic use or to use for frequent handwashing as a COVID-19 measure. The initiative is however enabling the urban slum communities to have enough water for domestic use, handwashing, and any other purposes.
In Kibera, SHOFCO’s aerial water piping system usually supplies water which residents access for Ksh2 for every 20-liter jerrican of water against the Ksh5-10 from other vendors while in other slum areas, water trucks are used. During the COVID-19 period, SHOFCO is supplying the water for free.
Beneficiaries have lauded the initiative saying they are thankful for the little they get. Alice Adhiambo from Mathare says “We do not have water. We buy little water which we use in the house. The free water we get from SHOFCO is helping us because it is clean. It is helping us a lot because as per now we have no enough money to buy enough water on our own.”
Elizabeth Okumu from Kibera too says” Water from SHOFCO is helping us to fight coronavirus and also diseases that cause diarrhea. People do not have money to buy food so where will they get money to buy water? Some people also sell dirty water and people get sick. We are happy that we can get free water from SHOFCO”
In response to COVID-19, SHOFCO is also supplying clean water for free in Mukuru (Nairobi), Mshomoroni, Maweni, and Bangladesh (Mombasa), and Obunga and Nyalenda urban slums (Kisumu).
Handwashing with soap, when done correctly, is critical in the fight against the coronavirus disease but millions of people have no ready access to a place to wash their hands.
Earlier, Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa said “Today, we all face a common enemy. We can only win by supporting each other and standing with the less fortunate in our society. I urge us all to make a difference by contributing be it in cash or in-kind towards supporting those among us in need,”