The world is full of organisations and people trying to do great things – but not always in total harmony. Nairobi, in Kenya East Africa, is one of those places where the YHP is working hard to bring people together to make a real difference.
On one side Nairobi is one of Africa’s great cities. Its metropolitan area is home to over six million people and the headquarters and regional offices of many UN agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
On the other it is home to the largest slums in Africa, such as Kibera, with massive levels of deprivation and disease. So it should be a model for development and cooperation – and that’s what the YHP is trying to make it.
The YHP works in the Kibera township to help young people to make healthier lifestyle decisions, for example in sexual health, smoking, alcohol and substance abuse, exercise and diet. This overlaps with the work of many governmental and other groups and on 13(?) September 2017 YHP Kenya and Plan International brought them together to see what could be done.
It was clear that there were great opportunities
Improving communication came out as a central issue. Local government representatives pointed out that a number of hospitals and clinics around Nairobi offer cervical and breast cancer and a number of other preventative screenings free of charge – but not enough people used them. This was news to some people in the room and a clear opportunity to make much more of a resource that was already available.
County government officials invited the NGOs and other participants to attend their quarterly public open meetings. These aim to improve the flow of information and help all groups to integrate approaches and resources.
This new spirit of collaboration is due to get off to an early start by broadening the cooperation for World Stroke Day on 31 October.
For their part the local government representatives asked the NGOs to bring their activities and communications closer together, to avoid duplication and increase impact. This is already happening with the development of a fully costed local implementation plan, in which preventing NCD development in adolescence will play a significant part.
These are very early fruits but, with the promise of future meetings to keep the momentum going, Nairobi may become a leading example of how NGOs and government agencies can work together to transform the life prospects of young people.