Nyeri, Kenya, 28 May 2020 - UN-Habitat is supporting a youth group in Kenya’s central highlands to produce innovative hands free handwashing stations which has won high praise from the county Deputy Governor.

The local youth group is based in Nyeri County, 150 kilometres north of Nairobi developed the facility to protect residents against the spread of COVID-19.

“When the cases of COVID-19 hit our country my youth group and I had the idea to build a free handwashing system that operates through a pedal system which provides the soap,” stated Boniface Ndegwa, coordinator of a consortium of youth-led agencies based in Nyeri.

“We are honoured that UN-Habitat is helping us put five of these stations in Nyeri, which are now up and running,” he said.

Over the next two months UN-Habitat is supporting Boniface and youth groups in Nyeri to establish handwashing and COVID-19 prevention information stations in the informal settlements of Witemere, Majengo, Kiawara, Junea Chania, and Ruringu Majengo Slums. They project that they will do over 50,000 handwashes in that time.

“Leadership is about linking people to opportunities, especially the youth,” stated Nyeri Deputy Governor, Caroline Karugu, “When I first learned about what this youth group is doing I was impressed. They decided to look for the silver lining in the cloud, and decided to take the opportunity on finding a way to prevent the disease from getting into the slum areas.”

UN-Habitat is supporting over 30 youth-led groups across the country in informal settlements who are stepping up to provide handwashing and other services that help the community protect itself from the corona virus. To date UN-Habitat has worked with its partners the Canadian High Commission to Kenya, the Norwegian Embassy and the Chandaria Foundation to set up facilities which have led to over 350,000 handwashes at handwashing facilities in informal settlements including Mathare and Kibera in Nairobi.