#Champions Kwa Ground

The COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything we have seen before. All over the world, people are up in arms fighting against this global health crisis any way they can. Thus, it is no surprise that Kenyan youth refuse to be left behind in the fight against COVID-19. We truly do not take this for granted. Which is why we want to highlight the ways in which young people are contributing to their communities during this pandemic. Do you know anyone who deserves to be featured on here? That could be you too… It’s super easy!! Click on the button below to nominate a #ChampionKwaGround.

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ELIZABETH GITAU-MAINA

Elizabeth Gitau-Maina is currently involved in Covid-19 response through advocacy and policy engagements.  In true #ChampionKwaGround fashion, she has been engaging the government through the taskforce in an effort to lobby for the protection of health workers who are at the frontlines combatting this pandemic. She is actively involved in providing education and training to medical doctors. In partnership with Uraia Trust, Elizabeth actively seeks to educate the public on Covid-19.

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HELLEN KIRAGU

@hellenekiragu

Hellen Kiragu, a resilient #ChampionKwaGround has been at the forefront from the very beginning in an earnest endeavor to sensitize her community on preventive measures whilst urging youth to adhere to government directives. Meanwhile, she is also on a mission to source for masks to be used by motorbike riders within her community. Cognizant of the economic impact of Covid-19 on her peers, Hellen sought to train 35 young women on production of homemade liquid soap essential for preventing the spread of Covid-19. Her selfless nature and ingenuity are a beacon of hope during these trying times.

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JAMES EKWAM

FREELANCE PHOTOGRAPHER

Born and raised in Mathare slums, Ekwam was called to action by the pleas of women in his community whose main challenge was lack of food. Most of these women are domestic workers who have been laid off by their employers trying to protect themselves from infection. Through a collective effort dubbed Usanii Lab Mtaani, he mobilized his peers to fundraise finds to purchase enough food for three weeks for these families. At present, he has been able to support 14 families in Mathare, Baba Dogo and Kayole and hopes to do even more with the support he receives from friends and well-wishers. #ChampionKwaGround

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LYNDAH KEMUNTO

MEDICAL DOCTOR, KISII COUNTY GOVERNMENT

MEMBERSHIP DIRECTOR, JUNIOR DOCTORS NETWORK OF THE WORLD MEDICAL ASSOCIATION CONVENER, YOUNG DOCTORS NETWORK OF THE KENYA MEDICAL ASSOCIATION

#ChampionKwaGround Lyndah Kemunto believes that prevention is better than cure and emphasizes sensitization of healthcare workers and the public through training and education to prevent infection. While she acknowledges that some of the challenges facing Covid-19 response such as insufficient supply of personal protective equipment could be detrimental to fighting this pandemic, she remains optimistic. Lyndah seeks to encourage frontline healthcare workers majority of whom are youth, to keep the faith, be courageous and to support each other. She believes bravery, commitment and sacrifice will get us through this pandemic.

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MUKURU YOUTH INITIATIVE

Mukuru Youth Initiative (MuYI) is a youth organization based in Mukuru Slums, Nairobi. The youth-led initiative is running a campaign in the fight against Covid-19 where the youth use art as a means of disseminating information on preventive measures to reduce Covid-19 infection rates. Some of these include murals, a song and messages shared in Sheng in an effort to flatten the curve. #ChampionsKwaGround

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PAUL TITO

Paul Tito, 23, a native of Mombasa is currently part of the Red Cross Response Team operating at the Likoni Ferry. He was one of the few brave enough to make efforts to rescue people on the first day of the curfew at Likoni Ferry, Mombasa where police brutality was in full effect. Further, he has made contributions to the fight against Covid-19 by sensitizing the people of Mombasa on preventing measures such as sanitizing and washing their hands frequently with water and soap. #ChampionKwaGround

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VICKY ARIDI

Vicky Aridi continues to make compelling arguments on why it’s so important to involve the youth in solving the challenges they face. In the wake of Covid-19, Vicki is creating awareness on the pandemic while supporting programs aimed at providing menstrual hygiene products to girls and young women in the slums. #ChampionsKwaGround

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MAXWEL ONGILI

Maxwel Ongili, a student of Maseno University has dedicated his time and energy as a volunteer in support of the public health department of Kisumu County in the fight against Covid-19. He has participated in fumigation exercises and has actively sensitized and mobilized the county residents on necessary steps to take to protect themselves and their loved ones against Covid-19. Following the closure of schools in adherence to the Presidential directive, Maxwel has been at the forefront in working with other health workers to help vulnerable groups in the county. He has foregone going to his hometown to be with his family and loved ones in favor of staying in Kisumu City at his own expense for the benefit of Kisumu Residents.

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CLAUDIA DHAHABU KENGA

Claudia Dhahabu Kenga is a youth doing amazing work in fighting against Covid-19. She goes to the villages to carry out sensitization on hygienic practices and has at one point visited 55 needy families in one day to bring food to them. These are but a few examples of the amazing work she is doing. Thus, it is no surprise that her work has been recognized beyond our Kenyan borders with her nomination coming from Germany. She is affectionately described as a God-fearing lady, hardworking, very humble, polite and having great potential. She is most admired for giving back to society and being a powerful youth voice and a role model to many young girls. #ChampionKwaGround

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BRIAN OANGA

@bransque

Brian Oanga, a #ChampionKwaGround has been a very articulate youth voice carrying out sensitization on safety mechanisms within his community. He has also been on the forefront using social media platforms in advocacy practices for safety measures and meaningful youth online engagement. Brian is of the belief that everyone has a part to play and has been very vocal on the role that everyone has to play by staying at home unless they are medical practitioners. His partnership with some of the youth has led to online campaigns on twitter that seek to debunk myths and false information. His mantra in the fight against Covid-19 remains, “Let’s stay safe. Let’s stay at home.”

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JENNIFER MWIKALI

#ChampionKwaGround Jennifer Mwikali, Founder of Counselling Outreach Center is a counselor, psychologist and journalist. Jennie who works with youth in schools and communities, and can’t help but think of all the young people she’s worked with during this period of social distancing. Prior to the presence of Covid-19 in the country, she had run campaigns over a week in schools before they were shut down and she is incredibly happy that she was able to reach more than 500 of them, teaching, enlightening and explaining in depth about Covid-19. These young people took ownership of the message on preventive measures and how to change and adapt to the not so new yet very essential hygiene practices. Jennie is hopeful and confident that we can fight this. She says, “We are the change we want for us and the world. Anything is possible.” For further information on her work, click on https://www.facebook.com/Counselling-Outreach-Centre-413200646081255/

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LEONARD OTIENO

Leonard Otieno is quite simply described as a dynamic young medical practitioner working in Bondo sub-county hospital. He is currently dedicating all of his time and energy towards Covid-19 Infection prevention and control. Leonard Otieno, a tenacious #ChampionKwaGround is also a Covid-19 Preparedness Assessor in his locality. Great job Leonard. We’re rooting for you.

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JEDIDAH LEMARON

Jedidah Lemaron of the Malkia Initiative is a gender activist and a menstrual health expert. History has demonstrated that emergencies and crisis situations affect women and girls more. They experience increased risk of gender-based violence including sexual exploitation especially in communities and contexts where gender inequality is already pronounced. Which is exactly why Jedidah couldn’t just sit and do nothing. She was especially concerned for the welfare of adolescent girls living in informal settlements in the Kajiado, Majengo area and how they would manage their menstruation. Through a pad drive, she and partners were able to gather more than 10 cartons of sanitary towels and during their first sanitary towel distribution drive, they were able to provide 120 girls with a 2-month supply of pads. At the moment, the target stands 500 and Jedidah hopes to surpass it. She says that the pandemic has also disrupted the supply chain for contraception and other sexual reproductive health care services. As she carries out door to door sensitization of SGBV alongside her partners, she encourages women and youth to seek family planning services to prevent unplanned pregnancies.

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COLLINS MUREITHI

Collins Mureithi is a youth advocate who is passionate about empowering young people to become agents of change. He is the founder of a youth-led organization called Centre For Adolescent & Youth Organization in Tharaka-Nithi County. He is involved in training youth in the art of volunteerism, adolescent sexual and reproductive Health rights alongside fighting against drug abuse among other issues of priority to the youth in his community.

In the fight against Covid-19, Collins has been fortunate to be part of a team that has offered 3 outreach sessions to sensitize youth in the grassroots about the pandemic. He is also consistently applying digital advocacy strategies where he shares information and directives from WHO and the government through his organization’s social media platform. In addition, Collins is in the process of mobilizing for funds from well-wishers in an effort to distribute food, masks and sanitizers to needy families within Tharaka-Nithi county.

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PAULINE JUMA

Pauline Juma is a transformative woman and youth advocate who champions for the rights and needs of victims of sexual and gender-based violence. During this #Covid-19 crisis, she has been actively involved in working to deal with SGBV issues arising in the informal settlements as well as raising awareness on SGBV and the importance of protecting young women during this period through her social media platforms. Through her organization Rebirth of a Queen, she has been providing psychosocial support to young women in the informal settlements. She has further supported more than 300 young girls in the informal settlements with sanitary towels and educated them on menstrual hygiene. She truly deserves to be celebrated as a #ChampionKwaGround.

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ASHA JAFFAR

@AshaJaffar

Asha Jaffar was nominated for the tremendous work she has been doing in her community. Born and raised in Kibra, Asha has contextual knowledge on how many families have been affected by the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic in Kenya.  Most people in her community live from hand to mouth. In an effort to support people in her community who may have lost their source of livelihood due to the pandemic, Asha Jaffar launched the Kibra Food Drive that has raised over Kshs 150,000. To donate, please click on this link https://secure.changa.co.ke/myweb/share/39216. She is a true @ChampionKwaGround.

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VICTOR SIJENYI OLWANDE

#ChampionKwaGround Victor Sijenyi is a youth advocate and community mobilizer working to flatten the curve in the advent of the Covid-19 global pandemic. Victor employs the use of social media to sensitize the public on the importance of adhering to government directives, offer advisory solutions to those in panic while also donating resources such as water and food to needy families in his community. Victor Sijenyi works in partnership with Siasa Place, Organization of African Youth and My Leader Kenya to ensure the dissemination of accurate information on challenges faced and solutions in the fight against Covid-19.