SHOFCO and the Mastercard Foundation to Provide COVID-19 Support to 1.35 Million People Living in Urban Slums in Kenya

July 20, 2020: Kenya, Nairobi — Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) and the Mastercard Foundation have launched a partnership under the Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program that is building the resilience of communities in 10 urban slums in Kenya during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The three-month partnership of USD 970,425 started in mid-May 2020 and has since reached 249,116 households with 807,125 people against a target of 1,350,000 people. More than 1,400,000 people have been screened for COVID-19 symptoms and probable cases referred for official government testing.

SHOFCO is on the front lines reaching the communities that are most at-risk for exposure to COVID-19 and hardest hit by the economic fallout from the pandemic. As they literally go door-to-door, household-to-household, person-to-person, they are delivering more than health information, medical services, sanitation supplies, or work opportunities. SHOFCO’s effectiveness is derived from the trust earned from communities, and they are an example for others seeking to work at the grassroots level.  True to their name, they are delivering hope, which is just as fundamental to getting us all through this crisis,” said Daniel Hailu, the Regional Head, Eastern and Southern Africa, at the Mastercard Foundation.

The partnership will target 10 of the 14 slums where SHOFCO has a presence including Kibera, Mathare, Mukuru, Korogocho, Kawangware in Nairobi; Bangladesh, Mshomoroni, and Maweni in Mombasa; and Nyalenda and Obunga in Kisumu.

“We are taking the COVID-19 message, temperature screening, soap, and sanitizers to the doors of the communities we serve in 10 slums in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu cities. We do temperature screenings and referrals of possible COVID-19 cases for further tests in public testing facilities,” said Kennedy Odede, SHOFCO co-founder and CEO.

The exercise is led by 1,800 community health workers and volunteers drawn from the SHOFCO Urban Network (SUN), SHOFCO’s grassroots advocacy and leadership platform. SHOFCO and the Mastercard Foundation partnered with the Ministry of Health to build the capacity of the community health workers and volunteers to relay the COVID-19 message, identify common COVID-19 symptoms, and conduct temperature screenings.

Through the SHOFCO Women Empowerment Program (SWEP), the program has employed over 100 young women in liquid soap making, sanitizer packaging, and in the creation of community health workers and volunteers’ identification jackets.

Naomi Jambiha, a 31-year-old mother of three is one of the over 100 women who have been making liquid soap for use in SHOFCO’s 303 hand washing stations placed in strategic entry and exit points of slums to keep the virus away.

She says: “When the coronavirus broke out, my husband could not pay most of the bills because people no longer bought the clothes he used to sell. Since May (2020), I have been the breadwinner in our family. I use the money I get here to pay rent, buy food, and even send some to our parents at home. In Huruma, many people lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and others had to go back to their rural homes because they could not pay rent or get money to buy food to eat. We have been able to stay behind because of this soap making at SWEP. We would be suffering now if it were not for this job.”

Mildred Achieng, community health worker, says: “Deaths from coronavirus in other countries have scared us so much. I need to see tomorrow. I want to live to tell a story about coronavirus. That is why I do not want it to come to my community. I wake up every day to move around telling my people to practice simple hygiene measures like handwashing, wearing a mask, and avoiding gatherings. When I go to bed every night, I sleep knowing I have helped someone with information that will protect them from the virus.”

Contact Info


Katherine Potaski
Chief Advancement Officer
+ 1 347 489 6465, kpotaski@shofco.org

Mastercard Foundation

Helen White
Strategy Lead, Program Communications
+27 76 166 5372, hwhite@mastercardfdn.org


SHOFCO is a Kenyan, grassroots organization that unlocks the potential of urban slum dwellers to lead hopeful and fulfilling lives. SHOFCO disrupts survival mode by providing critical services including health care, clean water, education, and economic empowerment; and links these efforts to a community-led advocacy platform.

We are the largest Kenyan NGO working in the slums, with a presence in 14 slums, serving over 1,400,000 people, spanning Kenya’s largest cities of Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu. Our work has been recognized with the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, the world’s largest humanitarian award, by the First Lady of Kenya, Margaret Kenyatta and at countless global events, including the World Economic Forum and the Clinton Global Initiative.

We are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of 13 July, We have established 303 hand washing stations that have been used 22,211,907 times. We have also screened 1,400,000 people for COVID-19 symptoms and distributed 398,768 bar soaps, and 265,942 bottles of hand sanitizers.

We have also distributed over 20 million liters of free clean water, enrolled over 20,000 urban slum community members on a cash transfer social protection fund with GiveDirectly, responded to 1,285 sexual and gender-based violence cases, and distributed food to 13,130 households.

For more information on SHOFCO visit https://www.shofco.org/

About the Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work.  It is one of the largest, private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organization with its own Board of Directors and management.

For more information on the Foundation, please visit: www.mastercardfdn.org

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