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Nairobi, 26 August 2020—Kenyan football star Victor Wanyama has partnered with UN-Habitat to provide face masks to inhabitants of two of Nairobi’s informal settlements to protect them against COVID-19. So far, some 7000 masks have been distributed.

Through the partnership, the Foundation of the Kenyan born footballer Victor Wanyama and UN-Habitat agreed to support communities living in Mathare and Kibera to access face masks for adults and children. Widespread poverty has left many residents unable to afford even the cheapest masks. Residents have been taught the correct method of putting on their masks.

The project has created jobs for women and youth in Kibera and Mathare who were responsible for sewing and branding the masks. One of the tailors involved in making the masks, John Odhiambo from Kibera said he was proud of helping his community to curb the spread of the virus.

Another tailor Maureen Atieno said: “We used to have customers, but when measures were introduced to curb the spread of the virus we were unable to make money to feed our families, we are grateful for the masks project as it has given us a chance to produce the mask and support our livelihoods and feed our families.”

George Gachie, Project Officer for UN-Habitat added: “Cloth face masks are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus, especially given our settings where we are unable to observe the social distancing guidelines, UN-Habitat is happy to partner with The Victor Wanyama Foundation to ensure that we continue to protect lives and leaving no one behind.”

“Most of the masks being produced are big and can’t be won by kids, we thought it would be good to target these young ones so that we protect them as well and they don’t feel left out,” said Cynthia Wanyama, Director of the Victor Wanyama Foundation.

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