Kenya: Corporates Launch 'Safe Hands' Drive in Fight Against Coronavirus

Residents of Nairobi walk past the Kenya National Archives National in Nairobi (file photo).

A number of companies have come together to launch the Safe Hands Kenya campaign that aims to distribute free soap, sanitisers, surface disinfectant and masks to Kenyans.

A nationwide marketing campaign will be rolled out in parallel to motivate behaviour change and inform people about practical and immediate measures they can take to stay safe and slow the spread of the virus.

The initiative is a home-grown blueprint for the particular challenges presented by Covid-19 in Kenya and other developing countries.

"Extreme social distancing measures being implemented around the globe are very difficult to implement within the African context, where many families live in close proximity and need to leave their homes to work in order to meet the basic needs of their families," Safe Hands Kenya said in a statement.

INITIATIVES

The drive will ensure the immediate provision of the tools for rapid mass sanitation (soap, hand sanitiser, surface disinfectant and face masks), along with the motivation and behaviour change education to adopt and use them regularly.

The alliance brings together technology-based distribution companies, input suppliers, manufacturers, media houses and community organisations.

It has assembled a full-time project team that includes experts across supply chains, user experience and behavioural change.

Distribution has started and will scale over the coming weeks and months.

The group has built a geospatial demand and supply allocation map and collectively distributes basic goods efficiently and transparently -- using technology -- to hundreds of thousands of small retailers, within reach of all Kenyan households.

"Rapid mass sanitation of hands and surfaces combined with adoption of masks is a pragmatic and scalable strategy in the Kenyan context. While our initial focus is Kenya, we are developing an actionable blueprint for other countries facing similar challenges so they can adapt our learning to their context and accelerate speed to market," said Andrew Waititu, the chief executive of Safe Hands Kenya.

"Our intent is to scale and sustain Safe Hands Kenya's operations for as long as they are needed. We welcome additional funding and capability partners who can accelerate the impact of our approach."

Dr Ahmed Ogwell, deputy director of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) -- a technical agency of the African Union -- said keeping hands clean by washing with soap and water or by using a hand sanitiser is the most effective way of stopping transmission of the coronavirus.

ROTARY KITTY

Meanwhile, Rotary Clubs in Kenya have launched a kitty to provide soap, hand sanitisers and disinfectants to communities.

Already, the clubs have distributed hundreds of water tanks to communities in Nairobi and Kilifi.

"Rotary's top priority is to ensure communities in low-income areas are supported and not left behind in the response effort," said Dr Joe Kamau, the Rotary chairman of the Emergency Response Team to Covid-19.

The team has been asking supporters to provide food hampers (Sh1,500 each), personal protection equipment kits (Sh3,000 each) and water tanks and sanitation materials (Sh4,000 each).

Rotary has far raised over Sh1 million and expects to raise another Sh2 million in the next two weeks.

"These funds will then be matched by an individual Rotarian donor, shilling for shilling," said Dr Kamau.

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