Nairobi, 30 June 2020 - Over 60 percent of Nairobi’s residents live in overcrowded informal settlements where public transport systems are often packed and there are few handwashing facilities.  

With support from the Urban Pathways project, UN-Habitat has worked with local youth and artists in Kenya to develop visual ways of providing information in these areas on how to prevent the spread of on COVID-19, such as washing hands, ensuring physical distance and wearing a mask. The murals and graffiti art make the messages clear for those who can not read or who do not have televisions or radios where messages are broadcast..

Christopher Njoroge from the Runda Youth Sports Association, one of the local NGO partners, said it was the first graffiti in the informal settlement of Githogoro.

“What I am seeing here is that many people will be educated and many people will be able to be reached, they are illiterate and they are able to see the message and they are able relate to it,” he said.

A local resident Julius Kisinga agreed the images were useful.

 "This mural will act as a reminder to the people who might have forgotten to wear their masks,” he said.

Besides raising awareness on COVID-19, the project also provides young artists with an income at a time when many might have lost their jobs and income.

UN-Habitat will continue working with communities and local governments in the fight against COVID-19 and beyond.

“We hope that cities can utilize COVID-19 as an opportunity to reflect on their urban development patterns and to build back better, more resilient and more sustainable cities post COVID-19” said Stefanie Holzwarth who works on Urban Mobility at UN-Habitat. “Cities have to be prepared for future environmental and health hazards.”