PBI-Kenya celebrates Editar Ochieng’s commitment to the human right to water and sanitation during the COVID-19 pandemic

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On April 2, the Peace Brigades International-Kenya Project posted on its Facebook page, “This is Editar, a WHRD Toolkit Organizer.”

PBI-Kenya adds, “She is sensitizing the community on facts around COVID-19 and how to behave with regards to it. Editar is also involved in the distribution of water vessels and setting up hand washing points in Kibera. She is working together with the local administration and other actors to ensure that the COVID-19 virus does not spread.”

The Nairobi-based Daily Nation has previously reported, “[The Social Justice Centre Working Group] is calling on the government to direct its focus on Kenyans living in the slums as the country grapples with the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.”

“According to the organisation, densely populated informal settlements may be unable to observe the government’s guidelines ‘even if their lives depended on it’ owing to the structural challenges in the slums.”

“The rights group argues that while some Kenyans may work from home, for slum dwellers, a day away from work would mean no means to fend for their families.”

Among the measures the Social Justice Centre Working Group is seeking at this critical time is for “the government to restore water supply to all slums and to crack down on water cartels that extort Kenyans.”

The human right to water and sanitation – recognized by the United Nations General Assembly in July 2010 – is critical in addressing this pandemic. Editar’s work to distribute water vessels and set up hand-washing stations is very important.

The UN has noted, “Across low-income countries, women and girls have primary responsibility for management of household water supply, sanitation and health. Often, fulfilling these roles precludes any other occupation or participation in education, and their marginalization is compounded by the indignity and insecurity of having nowhere private to go to the toilet. Addressing the needs of females in relation to water, sanitation and hygiene is a key driver in achieving gender equity and locking the potential of half of global society.”

PBI-Kenya has previously highlighted, “As a proud and radical intersectional feminist, Editar doesn’t apologize for challenging power dynamics and patriarchal systems that oppresses women systematically.”

PBI-Canada joins PBI-Kenya in thanking Editar for her work.

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