When Kenya announced stricter measures restricting movements across the country, many workers were affected. Majority of those who depended on casual jobs lost their jobs, with employers choosing in-house domestic workers.
Moses Omondi, a Kibera resident has a stable job hence a regular source of income. But not so his colleagues within the region’s larget informal settlement. Following the government directive restricting movements, and especially after the lock-down of the Nairobi Metropolitan area, Omondi says he started getting calls from desperate residents of Kibera. “They were either asking for money or any type of a job that would earn them some income,” he says.
In Kibera,locals call him ‘jamaa wa uradhi’ (the guy of connections) as they believe he can always link them to the right job or source of income. Concerned by the pressing loss of jobs by his neighbours, Omondi decided to start sourcing for help from people he knew. “I just wanted to help people. And since I did not have it all, I decided to uses what I had-the connection.” This is how Adopt a family was born. The initiative seeks to link needy Kenyans with those who are willing to help. The two parties remain anonymous and only connect via phone calls. The linkage enables a well-to-do individual/family adopt a needy family by giving them food.
This happens through shopping vouchers or direct food purchases in supermarkets and retail shops in the country.
Juliet*_is a mother of two, living in Kibera. “I was just a housewife. This last Saturday, I received Sh6,000. Someone linked me up with them anonymously. I will try spend sparingly. When I get money I plan to use it for rent since my food and other household needs are already taken care of,” said Juliet.
The Adopt A Family initiative anonymously links a needy person with a willing giver. The giver chooses to buy foodstuff or send money directly to the needy person or family. One can also send money via M-changa. To deliver the food to the beneficiaries, the team uses vouchers or send riders to deliver food at the beneficiaries’ doorstep.
So far, the initiative has linked over 70 families to donors. The team comprises six volunteers who help in identifying needy families in every village in Kibera.
According to Omondi, this approach requires selfless giving and a lot of integrity. Kenyans, he adds, want to help but they want someone they can trust. He, however, cites the challenge of financial instability, especially to support his team of volunteers.