In much of the world, the concept of extreme social distancing by staying at home is an unimaginable luxury, especially for people who depend on the informal economy.
There are 10 million Kenyans living in informal settlements, where social distancing is impossible, and economic realities force the most vulnerable to continue working despite the health risks. In most counties, over 90 percent of the population has no access to proper handwashing facilities. The provision of essential products for rapid mass sanitation and face masks is the most pragmatic, scalable solution to limit exposure to COVID-19 in the Kenyan context.
Safe Hands Kenya is a project led by a mission-driven alliance of Kenyan organisations to deploy free soap, hand-washing stations and masks to Kenyans and disinfecting public spaces as a first line of defence against COVID-19.
All alliance members have pledged to uphold three key principles: (1) zero margin: this is for impact, not profit; (2) speed is critical: every day counts; and (3) last-mile saturation of essential products: we leave no-one behind. When necessary, the alliance works with other local businesses and community organizations to meet project needs.
The alliance has been rapidly formed at a time of national urgency, bringing together tech firms, inputs providers, manufacturers, distribution specialists, consumer adoption experts, and NGOs to ensure products are delivered where they are needed most.
Targeted distribution is only half the challenge - it's vital that people understand why and how to use the products effectively. Safe Hands Kenya has simultaneously launched a massive consumer education campaign to drive adoption and maximise the associated public health benefits. Branded #TibaNiSisi (“We are the cure”in Kiswahili), the campaign is live across social media, print, TV and online publications, showing people how to stay safe, and providing practical guidance on hygiene, sanitation, social distancing and other measures. It’s designed to build motivation and confidence in people’s agency - their ability to take action to protect themselves and their loved ones - and speaks directly to people, learning from feedback and data from message distribution trials so we can ensure the message is relevant and impactful.
We now need to mobilise funding to ensure we can sustain and scale up the initiative for as long as it’s needed. Below are examples of estimated costs we are targeting once the initiative is at scale, which show how small amounts of money can make a big impact.
$25 – cost of public spraying in a community of 250 people
$50 – cost of providing masks for 135 people
$100 – cost of providing more than 150kg of soap (provides for almost 800 people)
$250 – cost of providing five hand-washing stations for public spaces
Dalberg Catalyst is raising funds to support Safe Hands Kenya. With your help, Dalberg Catalyst and Safe Hands Kenya can help “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 in Kenya and embed safe sanitation practices for a healthier future.
- - -
Safe Hands Kenya is led by a coalition of Kenya-based organizations and has the support of the Kenyan government. Coalition members include Shofco, Dandora Transformation League, Lynk, One Acre Fund, KOKO Networks, Twiga Foods, Jumia, Copia Global, SafeBoda, SokoWatch, Sanergy, Orbit Chemicals, Pwani Oil, Dalberg Advisors, Africa Practice and 4G Capital.
Dalberg Catalyst is a nonprofit organization recognized as tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to Dalberg Catalyst are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by U.S. law, and, for that purpose, grants or other distributions made by Dalberg Catalyst to Safe Hands Kenya will be subject to Dalberg Catalyst’s discretion and control within the meaning of and to the extent required by IRS Revenue Rulings 63-252 and 66-79.