NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 30 – The European Union Mission in Kenya has launched a 15-month long initiative which will help marginalized communities to fully implement government-imposed COVID-19 response measures by providing accurate information.
The initiative, dubbed Pamoja Dhidi ya Corona is locally adapted and transmitted by trusted messengers, allowing targeted communities to protect themselves from the virus.
EU Ambassador for Kenya, Simon Mordue, said the initiative is part of a global Team Europe response to COVID-19 in which the EU member states have provided close to Sh40 billion in support for Kenya during the pandemic through a broad range of measures.
“This initiative is essentially about strengthening the connections between Kenyan citizens in marginalised communities and the rest of society, as well as the Government, and about preserving and strengthening the social contract during the pandemic.”
Judy Kimamo, Coast Director for Search For Common Ground’s Swahili, an NGO working to counter recruitment of youth into terror groups, corroborated the Ambassador’s views stressing that the initiative aims to have everyone onboard in the fight against COVID-19 by building partnerships between all stakeholders.
“Everyone wants to be safe from the virus but measures to address the pandemic haven’t always considered different needs and perspectives, leading to resistance and instances of violence. With this project, we will amplify the voices of communities and make sure everyone, including young people, women, and people living in informal settlements and marginalised areas can understand the best way to stay safe.”
The initiative comes at a time when Coronavirus patients in Kenya have crossed the 19,000 mark with close to 300,000 tests carried out.
The initiative coordinators says stress from the pandemic, job losses and other social economic disruptions have heightened social tensions, mistrust and fear for the future to a delicate point in some communities.
In order to counteract these effects, the initiative will create an early warning platform, provide training and coaching for media moderators, launch COVID-19 TV spots and radio programmes and an arts and culture competition, amongst other measures.
Other features of the initiative are a social cohesion and human rights social media campaign, involving locally-adapted messages, skits, and short personal videos, as well as 32 COVID-19 specific Community Governance Dialogue Forums which will be held monthly in the informal settlements of Mathare and Kibera in Nairobi, Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi, Tana River and Garissa counties.
The initiative is part of a global initiative by the EU and Search For Common Ground which will include similar actions in Tanzania, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Nigeria.