Noonkopir Afya Foundation (NAF) was started in the year 2011 and licensed by the Non-Governmental Board (NGO) registration No. OP.218/051/11 -064/7533 as a health (Afya in swahili) foundation. The Mandate of the Foundation is to promote access to healthcare information, preventive counselling, rehabilitative and referral services. Our non-discriminatory approach to healthcare provides inclusiveness for different demographics both in urban and peri-urban areas with focus on the Maasai Community where the Foundation has its roots with possibilities of expanding to other counties in future.
NAF is situated in Kitengela Town, Kajiado East Constituency, Kajiado County. It resides a 200m off the Namamga Road that heads to Tanzania and 35km from the Capital City, Nairobi. Kitengela ward has a population 30,663 (Approx.) with an area of 102.90Sq. Km (InformationCradle-2018). The population is a mix of different ethnic backgrounds from the entire country. Kitengela town witnessed a population explosion in the early 2000’s driven by two primal needs – Work and Cheaper Shelter due to its proximity to Nairobi. The government had demarcated an industrial zone between Athi River and Kitengela known as the EPZ Zone mainly to setup factories to take advantage of the AGOA treaty with the United States. As such, a majority of residents in the town work in these factories or as artisans (jua kali) and in the local quarries.
The Foundation is a non-profit entity and unaffiliated to politics. NAF is the brain-child of Mawepi Medical & HIV/Aids Centre, which is a Community Based Organisation (CBO) that started operations in 2002 offering Curative, Family Planning, Ante-Natal, Child Welfare, Voluntary Counselling & Testing HIV/AIDS, Laboratory, Maternity, Minor-Surgery, Home-Based Care and Outreach Services. The Centre also has a Care programme for persons living positively.
The idea to begin Noonkopir Afya Foundation was an epiphany by the Founder who realized it was far greater to prevent diseases through education and counselling on lifestyle choices than treat the resulting lifetime conditions.
To promote access to healthcare services among the poor people living in urban and peri-urban settlements.
To provide promotive, preventive, curative counselling and rehabilitative health services.
Objectives of Noonkopir Foundation
1. Advocacy and management of obesity that include lifestyle changes, medications, dieting and physical exercise
2. Creating awareness, diagnosing and management of chronic diseases e.g diabetes, hypertension, HIV & AIDS, cancer, kidney disease and ulcers among others
3. Campaigning for nutritional needs of children through to adults
4. Developing training and nutritional programmes for patients with lifestyle concerns and convalescents
5. Engage organizations in Occupational Health and Safety Management to continually improve their safety performance and compliance to health and safety legislation and standards.
6. To incorporate Physiotherapy as a journey to recovery and self-sustenance
7. Continuous engagements in Outreach programmes to marginalized groups in Noonkopir to teach proper nutrition, dietetics and healthy lifestyles choices
8. To work with government and relevant institutions in promoting healthy lifestyles and combating chronic illnesses at the lower income bracket
9. To develop a Referral and Wellness Centre to cater for rehabilitation of lifestyle diseases and substance abuse
10. Finally, to initiate viable income generating projects to empower vulnerable and less fortunate groups in society and make them self-reliant
Profile of founder
Margaret Masara has been a career nurse and care giver since 1973 having received her training from St. Claire Mission School, Kaplong. During her training years, access to medical facilities for the residents of Bomet was limited, and thus it was routine to visit patients in the neighbouring areas of Chepalungu, Litein and Longisa. This early foundation birthed in her a spirit of reaching out to communities to provide services. Her journey has seen her engage in numerous outreach programmes, community training and charitable activities. She retired from public service in 2001 to setup the Mawepi Centre.
During her years in training, she recalls her tutor Margaret Singleton teaching them on diseases such as diabetes, ulcers, hypertension, kidney and heart ailments, and cancer which were uncommon in the country and therefore practical examples and applications were a challenge but the same were the leading causes of death in the UK where Singleton originated. This, the tutor attributed to lifestyle choices, lack of fresh foods and use of preservatives in storage of foods. Further, Singleton also noted that most workers in her home country operated from offices denying them routine exercise leading to obesity and diabetes.
The Founder noticed that the same trends prevalent in the UK in the 1980s’ have become a mainstay in our present communities. Likewise, the global health community has also shifted focus from communicable diseases to non-communicable diseases as they have become leading killers internationally. Mrs Masara notes with distress that her own immediate family, both husband and son, have become victims of lifestyle diseases and so are many of her relatives.
Although retired, the founder acknowledges that the only recourse for lifestyle diseases is through education and counselling to ensure that people eat nutritious and well balanced meals, exercise routinely, don’t overwork, get enough rest and sleep and this has become her mission in life.
Change people’s lifestyle choices through education and counselling
Improved outreach services to reach the masses especially the lower income vulnerable
Raise resources needed to diagnose, treat, educate and counsel about lifestyle diseases
Build a Centre that will be a referral and rehabilitation facility
The Centre will accommodate a maternity clinic to help Maasai women delivery safely in hygienic surrounding as opposed to in their manyatta’s.
Noonkopir Afya Foundation (NAF) was started in the year 2011 and licensed by the Non-Governmental Board (NGO) registration No. OP.218/051/11 -064/7533 as a health (Afya in swahili) foundation. The Mandate of the Foundation is to promote access to…