Our Covid Response Update: April 2020

Foothold faced a new challenge threatening our ongoing projects in rural Kenya.  In late March, Kenyan schools shut down in response to Covid-19.  Our three groups in Kenya making soap for their public schools with support from Pacha Soap Co. contacted us right away to ask how they should respond.

Honestly, our focus was on the immediate food crisis on the ground, so we told them to pause for a few days for us to contact Pacha Soap Co. and formulate a thoughtful response as we gathered information on the ground.

Within a few days, we received word that local school leaders reached out to all three groups to request we assist them in providing soap.  

Teachers, administrators and community leaders stepped up to help deliver soap, concerned their students were at home and more than ever needed soap to help prevent the spread of Covid-19

As part of our soap partnership, the community agreed to protect the school soap. Our groups make the school soap a distinct purple color that if seen in someone’s home gets reported to local officials to address. However, under the circumstances because we were so encouraged by their desire to help and volunteer their time, it was an easy decision to make an exception and pivot our outreach to their homes.

Each of our groups jumped into action, working with school and community leaders to deliver the soap in the homes and at water sources. Foothold took this as an opportunity to provide washable menstrual pads, handmade masks, and food staples that were desperately needed.

An added benefit to this community response was that soap was provided to young Maasai boys who have not been allowed to attend school. One of those boys, Saidimu Lekimani, is pictured. He attended our adult education program we launched in January of this year because he has to tend cattle for his family during the day, but he wanted to learn to read and write.

Because of our work with the Maasai community in the area, Maasai men were also eager to receive the handmade masks and to learn about hand washing hygiene. Reaching these largely illiterate Maasai men to help sensitize and educate them is one of Foothold’s most challenging goals.

Jennifer Moses, one of our young leaders of the women’s group in Njoro took the initiative to meet children at the local spring, instructing them on hand washing hygiene.

We are incredibly grateful for our ongoing partnership with Pacha Soap Co. that has just proven more critical during this time.