Shelters Responsiveness to the Covid-19 Pandemic
The Covid-19 outbreak presents huge challenges for shelters in dealing with aspects as safety and training for staff, protection of clients / residents, measures to contain an outbreak within a facility, helping staff work remotely while still supporting victims, ensuring adequate resources are in place etc. In addition, as families are encouraged or forced to stay at home, women and children who are vulnerable to domestic abuse are at greater risk. Three of the NSN members share briefly on how they are responding to the pandemic in their shelters.
Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO) is a grassroots movement that catalyzes large-scale transformation in urban slums by providing critical services for all, community advocacy platforms, education and leaders development for women and girls They have taken the following measures since the onset of the pandemic, raising door to door awareness done by Community Health Workers and SUN volunteers, screening of the residents, distribution of soap, hand sanitizers and informational Swahili pamphlets. They have further impacted thousands of beneficiary communities living in informal settlements and urban centres through community led mobilization and direct interventions. The SHOFCO WASH campaign has been successful in the provision of water, soap, sanitizers and offering screening services. Read more here: https://www.shofco.org/covid-19/
Ripples International Trust is a nonprofit making Christian organization established in 2002. We are committed to serving children through community focused initiatives in partnership with stakeholders as inspired by the teaching of Jesus Christ. We seek to protect and promote respect for the rights of women and children.
Ripples International has been using the government guidelines on Covid 19 prevention, and also the shelter has also issued supplementary guidelines to ensure safety of staff and the children in the shelter.
In order to curb the spread of the Covid 19, various coping mechanism have been put in place in the shelter such as washings hands frequently at designated hand washing stations. The staff working at the shelter always takes a shower before starting their duties at the shelter and change into clean clothes and put their masks properly before interacting with the children. The staff at the shelter checks the children’s temperature and report on all temperature raise or health changes on the children on daily basis or whenever they arise. All items brought into shelter for use are put aside for 24hrs before use. Those washable e.g fruits are washed with soap and running water before use. The shelter staffs are advised while not at the shelter, they should ensure to follow the government’s guidelines to avoid exposure to the virus which would put the children and staff at the shelter at risk
Admission in the shelter is ongoing and the new cases are isolated in a separate well ventilated room, the shelters residents movement within the shelter are limited and the shelter minimize time spent in the shared space, the shelter care givers taking care of the child/children should not have any underlying medical condition and only the caregiver is allowed access to the isolation room. The Isolation room is cleaned on daily basis or when need arises with a disinfectant . The child/children and caregiver in isolation/quarantine room do not share toothbrushes, eating utensils, dishes, towels, washcloths and bed linen.
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CDTD’s Talia Agler Girls Shelter was established in January 2012 within the outskirts of Nairobi. The shelter offers direct assistance to girls and young women aged between 1-24 years who are victims of human trafficking, child labor, domestic violence, forced migration and sexual abuse. The shelter has served over 1,000 girls and women since its inception. It currently houses 52 residents. All shelter services are still being provided. The measures in place in response to the Covid-19 outbreak include disinfecting rooms twice a day, daily temperature checks on residents and staff, designating hand washing polyglots around the facility and placing hand sanitizers at strategic places, 3 masks provision for each resident, changing meal seating – ensuring distance when residents are together to avoid close contact, disseminating Covid-19 information and training residents and staff on preventive measures including hanging IET materials on the shelter’s notice board for residents and guests. The shelter is in close communication with nearby health centers in cases of emergencies and adhering to strict hygiene procedures and have an isolation room.