An opinion piece by ED Jeffrey Okoro, published on the front page of STAT News, shares his personal story alongside the story of CFK Africa’s work and model.
“CFK Africa started the same year I came to Kibera, and soon after my arrival I learned about their first efforts organizing soccer tournaments in the community. In 2009, I became involved as a youth leader, working with my peers to calm ethnic tensions after post-election violence. Soon, I was working on one of our biggest initiatives at the time, as a community health volunteer helping educate the community on sexual and reproductive health issues.
These volunteer positions are one of our most critical resources in addressing health issues in informal settlements in Kenya such as Kibera. With few institutions serving informal settlements, there aren’t many sources of information that people trust, and poor health advice can spread through the community as quickly as a virus. When the Covid-19 vaccine first became available, residents had many fears and misconceptions about how it worked. Our community health volunteers were able to address these issues as trusted friends and neighbors.
This is the model that I wish more charities and philanthropic efforts would follow. Some people call it “participatory development,” but I prefer to use a term first popularized in English by South African disability rights advocates: ‘Nothing about us without us.'”
Read the full story on STAT News.