The pandemic that is COVID-19 has disrupted lives sending a lot of Kenyans to survival mode. Hard as survival mode is, it bites different when you are in the remote areas of Turkana County. For 71 year-old Apoo Ewoi, the pandemic has come at a very trying time when there is hunger in her community.
Clutching on to her walking stick, the slender built and heavily beaded Apoo says her children left to seek greener pastures in the urban centers and she has been living alone in her small thatched house in Napetet village, Lokwii location Turkana East.
As coronavirus spreads across the globe, so do positive stories of individuals like Apoo, taking heed of and rallying to overcome the pandemic. Outside her house, hangs a Leaky tin hand washing station and she has on her face, a homemade face mask, made of polythene paper. Apoo has clearly heard of corona virus and is taking into account the preventive measures by the government and non-state actors. She noted that information on COVID-19 prevention has trickled down to her village adding “I had no money to buy a mask and so I ended up making one for myself.”
However, lack of essentials like soap and the limited quantity domestic water in her homestead are a limitation to Apoo’s adherence to all of the COVID-19 preventive measures. With the support of Grundfos Foundation, Practical Action delivered water, soap and water storage containers to her. She now also has re-usable facemasks to replace her polythene one.
This intervention and support however addressed half of her concerns as she pleaded with well-wishers to help her with food stuff that will sustain her during this pandemic
For Practical Action, cases like Apoo are common and the organization exists to put ingenious ideas to work so people in poverty can change their world. By starting small, Practical Action does things differently by bringing people together in bold collaborations, combining knowledge with innovation to change the systems that keep people poor and vulnerable. Believing in the power of small to change lives, Practical Action works with communities to develop ingenious solutions for agriculture, water and waste management, climate resilience and clean energy access.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Practical Action, building on years of experience working with communities on water, sanitation, waste management and hygiene rolled out a three pronged campaign to help vulnerable communities and individuals like Apoo weather the storm with the following interventions;
Limit the spread by helping vulnerable people stay safe by improving their access to reliable and relevant information about the coronavirus, hand washing facilities and supplies to improve hygiene and sanitation in their homes and communities.
Keeping essential services running through supporting water, sanitation, waste and energy services to continue operating safely especially in the poorest communities and support farmers and food supply chains to remain intact
Supporting longer term recovery by enabling sustainable development that helps people improve their lives and protects the planet.
In Kenya these interventions have been delivered in line with the NBCC mandate in the fight against COVID-19. Besides delivery, stocking and engaging communities and the county government to facilitate hand washing stations, Practical Action has also designed, simplified and translated World Health Organisation and Ministry of Health approved messages on the virus in local dialects. Further they have disseminated these through radio, digital platforms, wall murals and IEC materials to ensure people in low income communities (urban and rural) receive and use the right behaviour change communications on hygiene and social distancing.
For more information visit https://practicalaction.org/practical-action-responds-to-coronavirus-crisis/