Who could have imagined that a Simple Hairstyle would become a conversation starter and fundraising tool for COVID-19?
Necessity is the mother of invention!
These women in Kibera Slum, an Informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya are using a hairstyle to raise Awareness about Coronavirus.
Its called the “Coronavirus Hairstyle”.
The “corona hairstyle” is shaped just like the virus: it has long spikes and a small circular crown.
Other hairstylists hope it will bring much-needed community awareness about the pandemic in this area.
Some salons in Kibera Slum charge 1 dollar to make a hairstyle very popular amongst children in Kibera.
This in turn sends a message of awareness about the new virus.
Jane Mbone, 7, arrives home after having her hair styled in the shape of the new coronavirus at the Mama Brayo Beauty Salon in the Kibera slum.
A hairstyle that has popularly been around Africa for many years has become much more than a look in Nairobi, Kenya.
Kenya currently has 715 cases of COVID-19 and has put measures into effect to combat the pandemic, such as implementing curfews and releasing of prisoners.
Hairstyles have historically carried meaning in Africa, from revealing a wearer’s relationship status to their family’s social standing.
Variations of the “corona hairstyle” have been plaited from generation to generation.
Sharon Refa, a hairstylist in the slum feels that there still needs to be aware of how to protect oneself and others from coronavirus.
“Many Slumdwellers don’t believe that the coronavirus is real,” Refa said.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends regularly washing hands with water and soap or cleaning them with a sanitizer.
They also recommend wearing masks and social distancing when in public.
But another challenge Kenya faces in its fight against COVID-19 is lack of clean water and sanitation.
According to Water.org, a digital platform that advocates for access to water and sanitation, 41% of Kenyans get their water supply from ponds, shallow wells, and rivers, while 71% of the population lack access to sanitation. The challenges are even more pronounced in slums like Kibera.
Refa added that many adults in her community are reluctant to wear masks or use hand sanitizer, which is why she and her colleagues came up with the “corona hairstyle,”. The hairstyle also helps in communicating with the public about the virus.
The corona hairstyle is a way to be stylish on a seriously tight budget. Millions of people across the world have lost their jobs, food security, and businesses as a result of COVID-19.
The most affected sectors are transport, aviation, hospitality and tourism, manufacturing, wholesale and trade, agriculture, and the informal sector.
In Kenya, 83% of total employment in 2018 was in the informal sector.
The reality of the toll Covid-19 is taking on the economy is only beginning to hit home, with 133,657 Kenyans said to have been rendered jobless.
Nonprofits are also doing the best they can to create awareness and help where they can in terms of food, water, soap, and sanitary effects.
Which are some of the innovative ways you have seen that have been used to create awareness about COVID-19? Feel Free to Share in the comments below.