Sharing a Story from Kenya

Prepared by Wilkins Ndege Muhingi

The Association of Social Work Educators was involved in a number of activities in response to Covid-19. We distributed face masks to residents of some areas within Nairobi City County (Langata, Globe cinema, Kawangware, Kabiria, Ngara Langata Police Station and Nairobi Central Police Station). We also sensitized people to the danagers of the coronavirus by creating awareness and conducting civil education among residents. Thanks to the China Association of Social Work Education (CASWE) and Wang Ying and  Huang Weipin from “Hand in Hand” who sent us masks as a gesture of love and solidarity in the fight against the Covid-19 Pandemic. I was incredibly humbled to join the President of Association of Schools of Social Work in Africa, Prof G.G. Wairire, in extending this gesture to a number of categories of people in the informal sector within Nairobi. The categories of those who were involved in this work included motor-bike riders, washerwomen, fruit sellers and other small retailers and manufacturers. They undertook the following activities: motorbike riding who transport people within the county or supply commodities, washing clothes for payment, selling fruits and vegetables, food-related operations, processing, and sales, selling clothes and shoes, (both second-hand and new), kiosks for selling various items, e.g., water kiosks, small retailers or hawkers who sold cereals, home supplies, fuels and other goods, and small manufacturing, production, construction and repairs of goods. All these activities qualify them as part of those engaged in informal sector as categorized by World Bank (2006). We targeted people who would not remain in the house because they needed to fend for themselves and their families. The essence was to enable and equip them to continue with their activities in safety. In line with social work education I have been involved in guiding students online on how to continue with their studies to complete the work that was underway in the semester that the pandemic struck. I have also been involved in administering examinations online to avoid disrupting learning occasioned by the pandemic. I have also been training colleagues in the use of online platforms to guide students.

Wilkins distributing masks and sensitizing mechanics at their shed

Prof G.G. Wairire distributing masks to a vegetable seller