Pamoja, we must be! Pamoja is a Kiswahili word for united and we are grateful to be connected with so many other NGO's, CBO's and/or organizations in Kenya and now around East Africa. We became a member of the Pamoja Circle a few weeks ago which is a circle of NGO's, CBO's, organizations, and local businesses that we all connect with for our organizational work in Kenya specifically, but this morning we joined an even larger network of organizations upon the invitation of their panel. This larger network included organizations throughout East Africa and beyond where we were able to come to the table with offices from Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, and also Kenya to share the concerns, experiences, and responses to COVID-19 in the communities we serve. The biggest take away from it all was that we are not alone in the concerns, experiences, and challenges to create helpful responses in our communities with restrictions in place. The other take away is that in these very challenging times for all, working together to carry out shared goals is key. Every organization has different strengths that are brought to the table.
Some of the discussion today focused on the closure of schools throughout East Africa and the challenges created by this. While some lessons are being delivered via radio and television stations, not all have access to those delivery methods, let alone electricity. The other challenge is the work being sent to parents via Whatsapp school messaging systems. While this has been helpful to get work to the students, printing demands have created another challenge. We were also able to determine not every region is doing things the same way which has provided a path to new ideas at the same time. This meeting of organizations across the East African nations and beyond will occur again next week and we will have representatives from the Ministry of Education present along with some Principals across different regions thanks to several participants who have direct lines to reach out to the MOE. Creating solutions together will be key and allow all to be invested.
Within Angaza, we have a few things to share as an update. Two weeks ago, we distributed Unga, extra soap and pads to all of our participants. We have remained in contact with Principals in one connection group, other organizations in the Kibera area in another group (Pamoja Circle), and our Girls Empowerment Teacher has been calling every girl registered in our program at the end of each week to check in, see how she and her family are doing/get updates, and listen to anything the girls wish to share to support them. Staying connected is key! This week, the girls wanted to share some of their thoughts with you so we have posted quotes from the girls who wanted to send something out to you on our Facebook page. As we continue forward in our weeks ahead, we will continue to share their messages with you. Our Girls Empowerment Teacher is staying busy with updating our records with the update/check in information she is getting from the participants each week over the phone and texts. We are also organizing another Unga pallet buy from our market contact and piki driver network to make it quick (and before curfew). This time will be a bit different since we did it under the evening before, now it must be before curfew kicks in when it is still light outside. Keeping safety measures and distance as the priority, one parent at a time will be able to receive another distribution of Unga. This might take a few days to distribute doing it that way, but we want to make sure it is one person at a time at the top of the steps only. While we would love to see the girls of course, the parents have expressed preference to pick up which we support, it also lets us to see them outside of a typical parent meeting.
We have also been able to secure additional supplies of soaps and pads which has been a miracle thanks to our Hygiene Drive supporters! We have a delivery coming between April 3rd-6th for a drop to our space.
Thank you for continuing to stand with us at this time and support our continued work through feeding, hygiene supplies, ensuring our project space stays in tact for use, and keeping our teacher at work through these alternative activities with Angaza for the time being. The girls surely appreciate the continued support during this crisis.
We will provide another update again soon! Please remain safe! Thank you!