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The Enigma of COVID-19 & The Sonko Rescue Team

The Sonko Rescue Team is a registered NGO affiliated with the Nairobi Governor Mike Mbuvi Sonko that has been providing services to residents in Kenyan slums. The team largely comprises youths like me and you who is reading this right now. They have taken up services to the community like cleaning and beautifying the roads and streets of Nairobi. The governor has been on the frontline to fight crime in Nairobi by encouraging the surrender of illegal firearms in exchange for a place in the beautification program with a salary. The crime rates have since then dropped and consequently, Mike Sonko has received an award for his efforts towards fighting crime and ensuring the general security of Nairobi area.

Owing to the recent pandemic of COVID-19, the Sonko Rescue Team has gone over and beyond to reach out the most vulnerable in the society. The virus has prompted higher standards of sanitization to be observed to curb the spread.  In areas with little to no running water, the team has single handedly set up over 300 sanitization booths spread out in the 85 wards of Nairobi. The booths have been strategically placed in areas like KNH, Mathare, Korogocho slums, Greenspan Estate, Kencom bus station – just to mention a few. Apart from the sanitization booths, the team has also fumigated some of the city’s slums.  There have been a few scuffles where the sanitization booths have been vandalized in Gikomba market and Kibera slums by policemen and alleged officials from the Ministry of Health. This was followed by a court case filed by the governor, where the High Court ruled against the demolition of the said sanitizer booths.

In addition to the erection of sanitization booths, the Sonko Rescue Team has distributed over 10,000 masks and sanitizers to residents of Huruma Estate. This was a great success owing to a proactive 10-year-old – Grace Wanjiru whose resilience to provide her peers in the neighborhood with improvised face masks were noticed by the governor. He took a plight to her efforts of improvising face masks from towels and pledged a weekly batch of masks and sanitizers which she has been able to distribute to the residents of Huruma estate. The Sonko Rescue Team members have also distributed corona virus care packages to women from vulnerable groups in the society from the governor’s Upperhill office, where the distribution was done in adherence to the social distance directive from the Ministry of Health. The packages contained food items like flour and cooking oil.

The residents of Kariobangi have greatly benefited from the Sonko Rescue Team aid, following the evictions of the locals from the disputed sewerage land. Most of the people were forced to leave behind their belongings, and some were left high and dry, with nowhere to run to – after the cessation of movement in and out of the Nairobi Metropolitan area. The Sonko Rescue Team quickly responded by donating food, non-food items, including blankets, stoves, utensils, mattresses, masks, and hand sanitizers to the evictees. The governor also donated building materials and tents to serve as a temporary shelter for the victims of the demolitions as they await a long-term solution.

Author avatar
Stacy Sanaipei

1 comment

  1. avatar

    Dorine Ogutu

    So … where’s the enigma. Enigma? This piece isn’t as nuanced as the title led on. I hoped it would talk about both the the pros and cons so it could seem unbiased.

    Either way kudos to you and the SRT.

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