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The Coronavirus Diaries: Leave No Child Behind

The Coronavirus Diaries: Leave No Child Behind

Wednesday February 3 2021

The Programme for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa (PROCMURA) give an update on their work in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya.

There is no doubt that this deadly and highly contagious coronavirus has continued to ravage throughout the world and has had its effects, the African continent has not been spared.

Nations and their people are anxious and afraid of the worst as infections and loss of lives continue to be reported on a daily basis. As this reality takes its toll, compounded with the control measures adopted by various governments such as lockdowns and curfews, loss of livelihoods is slowly becoming a normal thing, with the poor and vulnerable suffering depression and groaning on how to meet even their very basic needs.

Although the Covid-19 pandemic has affected people across the spectrum, its impact is most devastating in the informal settlements in urban areas and villages where health and hygiene standards are very poor across the continent.

The majority of the population are not able to live up to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and  government directives of social distancing and washing of hands regularly with water and soap, as water itself is a rear commodity in their vicinities. The need for regular sanitisation of hands and wearing of face masks is a requirement that most of these communities cannot fulfil. These directives according to the average citizen in Kenya are not  feasible as most residents live in crowded households in the informal sectors. The hygienic conditions in such informal settlements are deplorable as toilet facilities are shared by all members of the community thus generally increasing risks of all sorts of infectious diseases of which Covid-19 is the most lethal.

Additionally the requirement of “working and staying at home” is not practicable in most of these communities where livelihood depends on daily earnings that enable some of them to live - be it from hand to mouth. The worst scenario in all these is that children in the communities are more vulnerable as they play around with one another without any kind of protection such as face masks.

It is against this backdrop that the Programme for Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa (PROCMURA), a Pan-African Christian organisation with more than 60 years of existence has over the years worked  with both the Christian and Muslim communities in the continent, employed its programme of diapraxis and stepped in to give assistance to vulnerable communities to enable them cope with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

In Kenya’s capital Nairobi, PROCMURA, in collaboration with the Churches and community based organisations in the informal sectors of Nairobi worked together in the famous Kamkunji slums located in East Leigh where there is an equal number of Christians and Muslims and through its diapraxis model and in consultation with state actors, distributed assorted food items to vulnerable communities of widows, orphans, physically challenged, single mothers, the elderly and unemployed youth at the Shauri Moyo Baptist Church grounds in respect to the social distancing directive from the government.

In addition to food distribution, PROCMURA installed hand washing points in various strategic points within the slums where people would wash and sanitise their hands. Various community groups were tasked to continuously fill the drums with water and sensitise community members to wash their hands frequently.

The final intervention targeted children and was dubbed “LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND”. Children from the ages of three years old were happy to receive face masks to protect themselves from the deadly virus. At least five thousand washable face masks were handed over to the Kamukunji community peace network to share among the children in the community.

The Coronavirus Diaries: reflections from Church of Scotland partners around the world

USA: Homes of Prayer
Mozambique: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread
A Spaniard in Scotland: The Power of Movement
South Sudan: Being Positive
A Nigerian in Scotland: God is in Charge
Trinidad and Tobago: New Frontiers
Czech Republic: A Challenge for Everybody
Switzerland: An Outpouring of Solidarity and Creativity
The West Bank: A Landscape of Broken Dreams
Nepal: So Many Premature Goodbyes
Malawi: We Must Hold Each Other Close
Nigeria: A Fresh Spiritual Connectedness
Egypt: 'This Is A Time To Witness God'
Guyana: The Strength of our Connectedness
South Korea: A Harsh Reality
Zimbabwe: Convenience or a Wake-up Call?
Sri Lanka: Service is the Highest Form of Worship
USA: Testing Positive
Portugal: The Mission of the Church Has Not Changed
World Council of Churches: A New Dawn is Upon us
Hungary: Physically Distant but Close in Spirit
A German in Scotland: Something New Has Already Begun
Myanmar: We Will Overcome this Hardship
Ghana: This Too Shall Pass
Brazil: The Least We Can Do
Kenya: Caring for One Another in Christ
An Indian in Germany: A Time of Enrichment
Argentina: Time in Between
Malawi: 'My identity in Christ remains unchanged'
Jerusalem: Being Rather than Doing
Malawi: No Lockdown and an Election
Zambia: 'I will never leave you... or forsake you'
Czech Republic: The Covid Cover-up
Zambia: 'All Life is Sacred'
Israel/Palestine: 'The Air is Clear'
Nepal: 'Please Pray for Us'
Malawi: Tough Dilemmas
Italy: 'Together, We Will Get Through It'