On the 16th of May 2020, GNRC women peacebuilders and youth together with health workers from Mombasa County of Kenya sensitized the community of Bombolulu on COVID-19. A total of 1,057 people including children and youth benefited from the outreach. The event aimed at imparting knowledge to the community on the pandemic and on its potential to increase online radicalization and exploitation of children and youth, and ways to prevent those effects. The participants were encouraged to educate other members of the community to promote awareness and understanding about the pandemic and its associated effects.
Present during awareness campaigns was Mr. Bernard Omole, Chief of Ziwa la Ng’ombe, Senior Pastor Rev. Leonard Menego, Mzee Mumbo from Shauri yako, Mzee Wasike from Kisumu Ndogo, Mzee Gabriel from Mnazi Mmoja, elders of the church, health workers and GNRC members Rev. Maria Kipruto and Mr. Shee Hassan.
The cooperation and teamwork portrayed among the health workers, peace builders, representatives from the government, and community was appreciated as they educated the community door-to-door, street-to-street. It was noted that the communities in informal settlements needed to be proactive in reducing the risk of Coronavirus by abiding with the regulations and rules put by the government and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Health workers underscored the importance of wearing facemasks and washing hands for at least 20 seconds. Social and physical distancing were emphasized as critical in controlling the pandemic. GNRC members similarly expounded on terminologies that needed clarification such as quarantine, lockdown, symptoms of corona, among others. Members also noted the inadequacy of water in the area that was needed to cleanse one’s hands especially during the COVID-19 period.
The community was educated on preventing radicalization into violent extremism especially during the pandemic when children were at home and frequent the online media, which is a hub for online recruitment. Parents and caregivers were encouraged to take care of their children during COVID-19 and protect them against drugs, commercial sex and pornography. Through the help of community elders, the mosque and the church, members were able to identify the underprivileged individuals in the society and distributed food items and toiletries to them. Members also distributed facemasks across the Bombolulu residence.