Friends of the Old is a Community Based Organization working in Nyakach Constituency, Lower Nyakach Division of Kisumu county. FOTO supports grandparents living with their grandchildren. FOTO works with the community with special focus on the elderly and orphaned and vulnerable children.
With the support of International Water and Health Alliances,
FOTO promotes health in the community by training on water testing and solar water pasteurization, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and promoting reduced smoke and smoke-free cooking environments.
FOTO was registered with the Ministry of Gender and Social Services in 2005 as a self help group and has grown steadily in activities and networks. At the time of it’s inception, there were many children orphaned as a result of HIV AIDS. Many young and middle aged couples died leaving behind their children to the care of grand parents who could hardly take care of their own selves. The situation at the time included children living with old vulnerable grand parents, child headed families and children dropping out of school to fend for their siblings and parents. There was therefore a gap and great need to look for ways and means of helping the children adjust and cope in their new environments. And help the grand parents also cope with their situations. The average family size in Nyakach is 8 members and many families have single bread winners, many surviving on odd jobs and petty trade.
Currently FOTO has a team of 32 staff actively working to serve the community. We have a bank account with Equity Bank, Kisumu Branch which is operational
WHY FOTO ?
The situation analysis done in 2009 at the time indicated that many elderly citizens were over burdened by their Orphaned grandchildren due HIV/AIDS scourge which was ravaging villages in Lower Nyakach. As a result many families lost their loved ones which was either one parent or both the parents leaving behind children to their old grandparents to take care of.
The second problem that was clearly documented was the lack of access to clean drinking water. Recurrent drought in Lower Nyakach aggravated the water situation which was inadequate in quantity and the quality was also compromised.
The 3rd problem was the rampant diarrhea disease that were being seen at the facilities records because many people were not sensitized on the importance of knowing bacteria quality of drinking water and were basing their argument on the myth that water was blessed by God and therefor safe to drink it raw as it was. Many households in Lower Nyakach went about practicing bad hygiene practices like open defecation in the bush, bathing in the river, washing in the river, taking livestock to drink in the same water source used by households for drinking etc. and people were not keen on safe waste management and lack of awareness on the importance of hand washing and did not observe basic hygiene which led to overwhelming diarrhea diseases that was too costly to families and often loss of life a among adults and children under five years. The other issues during the situation analysis were the widespread poverty among households which led to food insecurity in the project area. Poverty situation led to many school dropout with vulnerable orphaned girls most affected. FOTO Director together with the support of IWHA represented by Professor Robert Metcalf and Dr. Mary Beth Metcalf.