In the four months since COVID-19 was first reported in Kenya, the simple act of proper hand washing using running water and soap proved to be a formidable weapon against the virus. With this in mind, UNICEF has partnered with WASH ALLIANCE Kenya to install hand washing stations and soap at public places with soap in targeted informal settlements of Nairobi. This intervention has helped to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, since many households do not have access to soap and water

 Kennedy Ocholla, who lives in Githogoro informal settlements of Nairobi with his wife and two children, is one of the 24 beneficiaries of the handwashing stations for public places.

“This hand washing station has helped not only me but my community at large, as you can see, my business at the shopping center and neighbors households too.”   In a day, he can count as many as 20 people washing hands especially in the morning and towards lunch time.

Kennedy voluntarily keeps the hand washing station safe and also fills it with water. He says his wife cleans and fill the station everyday with four 20 litre jerry can of water which costs them 2 shillings per jerry can.

“I do not mind about the cost of buying water because I know this station will help keep my wife, kids my business and 4 employees safe from COVID-19 infection.”  He says.

“In the recent month after acquiring this hand washing station, business has been booming for me. I have acquired new customers and overwhelming orders to make furniture and welding. My customers trust the safety that comes with the carpentry services I provide since I constantly wash my hands and urge them to do so too”. Kennedy adds.

Despite the challenges facing people living in Githogoro, Kennedy is optimistic that they will come out of the pandemic stronger.  He continues to encourage his family, customers and neighbors to wash their hands and take other measures such as mask wearing and physical distancing to stay safe and healthy.

WASH ALLIANCE Kenya and UNICEF intend to reach 30,000 people with access to hand washing stations with soap and proper hygiene messages through this intervention. Our focus is on informal settlements of Githogoro, Kibera, Mathare/Korogocho and Mukuru in Nairobi County for a period of three months.