UN-Habitat expands mask and recycling bin initiative in Kenya’s informal settlements

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Nearly 5,000 school children in two informal settlements in the Kenyan capital are better protected against COVID-19 thanks to a UN-Habitat initiative to expand masks and recycling bins in these often neglected areas.

The three-week initiative in informal settlements in Mathare and Kibera is in line with UN-Habitat’s commitment to not only improve the quality of life in slums around the world, but also to ensure a more equitable resources among all citizens as a step towards a more sustainable urban development.

The youth-led COVID-19 emergency response initiative is part of the UN-Habitat COVID-19 response plan adopted in April 2020, which has the main objective of leveraging the experience, expertise and partnerships to provide solutions. UN-Habitat has an extensive network of youth partners built up over its 20 years of programming with young people around the world. Working with these partners on the ground, we have brought together central and local governments, youth, communities and UN agencies to make the response to COVID-19 have an impact, especially with those living in informal settlements and slums.

Masks are a key prevention method. The most recent mask initiative facilitated the distribution of 6,577 surgical masks to 2,226 students in seven schools in Mathare and 8,730 masks to 2,500 students in five schools in Kibera slums, for a total of 15,307 masks distributed to 4,726 students.

“We would like to thank you for the surgical masks. This will help us study without fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus as we prepare for the upcoming national exams in March,” said Rebecca, class 8 representative at Raila Education from Kibera. Center says.

Face masks, donated by the Korean National Committee for UN-Habitat, were distributed by the Mathare Environmental Conservation Youth Group (MECYG) and the Kibera Community Emergency Response Team (KCERT) to help members of the community in their preventive response to COVID-19. Also, to limit the environmental impact of disposable masks and promote economic empowerment, the elastic cords of the masks will be reused by cooperatives of women seamstresses. In addition to the masks, recycling bins were also distributed to each of the schools.

“The bins will be used for the safe disposal of all kinds of surgical masks, not only for those distributed today, but also for other types that learners and teachers may have,” explained Mary Hiuhu, youth-led emergency program coordinator. COVID-19 Coalition. “The activity ensures that each student has acquired at least three masks, with MECYG and KCERT members leading the garbage disposal and recycling process in Mathare and Kibera respectively.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States says students benefit from in-person learning and recommends universal indoor masking for all students.

“The past and current support of the youth-led COVID-19 Emergency Coalition has been invaluable to our work,” said Doug Ragan, Program Management Officer, UN-Habitat. “This is an example of how youth-led agencies can play a key role in public health and other emergencies.”

The youth-led COVID-19 emergency coalition was founded in April 2020 by the governments of Kenya, Norway, Canada, Somalia, Habitat Norway, Water is Right, Victor Wanyama Foundation and the county governments of Mandera, Nyeri, Kisumu and Mathare. .

(With contributions from APO)

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