Our albinism activities in Kenya and beyond
The situation for Persons with Albinism (PwA) in Africa is critical. The condition is more prevalent in Kenya and East Africa in general (1:5000) compared to other regions in the world. . There is a lot of stigmatization and violence against PwA's, and most of them are suffering from poverty and isolation.
Under the slogan "Let's have a look at the big picture", we organized a online session for our Boehringer Ingelheim colleagues and alumni to give them an overview of our activities with PwA's and to discuss how to expand them. Besides our team members, Fauzia Mohamed and Manuela Pastore, we invited two other speakers: Chrisantus Ongulo, our local partner and lead of GAASPP (Golden Age and Albinism Support and Protection Program) in Webuye and Jane Waithera from Positive Exposure-Kenya.
MMH community in Webuye
Since October 2019, MMH with the support of Chrisantus has actively implemented activities on the ground: "My experience with Persons with Albinism is that one has to have a heart for humanity. And it should not be called just a job. I do this with a lot of passion and respect for the people in our program. My role is to make sure the community recognizes, values, and respects this humanity. "
With his social influence, 130 families are now supported in our MMH House in Webuye, where they are trained in hygiene, soap production, and income generation. In the current pandemic, this influence pays off - the PwA community was able to produce soap, masks, and disinfectants for the entire village, which made a significant contribution to society. This is system changing!
Raising awareness on albinism
Our impact in Nairobi has already achieved great success: Together with the NGO Positive Exposure Kenya, we run awareness campaigns nationally and internationally on albinism. We develop materials together, connect PwAs nationwide, and share knowledge much beyond Kenya. "Together with Making More Health, we can create a fully inclusive society that supports the wellbeing of people with albinism. We have to provide knowledge so that people understand, can accept their difference, and stand up for themselves," says Jane Waithera.
There is still a lot that needs to be done - but how?
Understand, create networks, build trust, find solutions, and connect them to change the system sustainably, that is our MMH ecosystem approach. We need to put the people and communities in focus to make social impact happen. It's about inclusive thinking and decision making that takes account of the whole situation, not just a particular issue. "We need to go beyond the own activities where we invest in a certain area only. Let’s share and build networks, let’s bring in other stakeholders who can tackle challenges within the whole system which we cannot. Besides being people with albinism they are first of all people like you and me who build their life on many different columns: That’s more health, but also about opportunies to generate income, to benefit from infrastructures. It’s about own talents and developing skills in many directions." says Manuela Pastore.
Thanks to our colleagues and partners who joined the session. Stay tuned for our following virtual workshops .