Going to the market and meeting people comes naturally to him. The daily hustle, wheeling and dealing, providing for his beautiful wife and two bouncing children… it’s the life he loves. He is a vendor by trade, buying and selling shoes at a fair price.

When COVID came, shipments were cut and business slowed down and eventually stopped.

The impact of lockdown on the Kibera slums of Nairobi was devastating. Social interaction was curtailed and jobs were lost. People were isolated, families were split apart and children found themselves behind closed doors. People were scared.

“My business was cut off and I thought I shouldn’t just sit around. It’s the community that has brought me up. It’s time to give back.”

He noticed information was trickling through, but people were taking risks. Newly installed handwashing facilities were largely ignored.

He decided to do something about it and knew just the thing: a megaphone. His friend had one he could use for 300 shillings a day.

He used it to start conversations, talking to friends, neighbours and strangers at football matches, train stations and playgrounds. His megaphone attracted attention, even from sceptics and naysayers, and that pushed him to persevere. The message started to get through.

“Children play but come back to wash their hands. People are in a hurry, but still, they stop to wash their hands. I’m proud of that.”

And that is not all he did. With personal sacrifice, dedication and an unwavering love for his community, he helped to truck in water, man the handwashing stations and fumigate public spaces.

He made it his business to take care of the community that raised him.

“My name is Moses.

To avoid the spread of COVID, I take action to ensure safe water and hygiene in my community.
I create change.”


is a young man living in the Kibera slums of Nairobi. When COVID turned his life upside down, he became a volunteer and community-based trainer, helping people to stay safe. Temporarily selling hygiene instead of shoes.



Volunteers spend about eight hours a day manning the handwashing stations and ensuring the availability of water and soap. This has helped to curb the spread of COVID, especially in overcrowded informal settlements where it is hard to practise physical distancing.


pairs a week

Before COVID, Moses was a subsistence worker with a shoe-selling business. He usually sold between three and five pairs of shoes on weekdays, but on weekends and holidays, he sold five to seven pairs. He could make up to KES 1200, enough to take care of his family.



Water had to be trucked into settlements during the coronavirus crisis to facilitate handwashing stations. The volunteers started with 60 litres but, as more people began washing their hands, that doubled to 120 litres. Along with other measures, most of the informal settlement dwellers have embraced handwashing to prevent the spread of COVID.


The story continues