by James Kamuye Kataru
Market place safety by buyer | Picture Courtesy SAWBO, photographer-Gerald Andrew Akolo

In the morning while on my way to the office, I noticed public transport vehicles packed to full passenger capacity after the Kenya government lifted travel restrictions. I then realized that being a Friday and a market day across the county, most travelers were rushing to the market centers to buy food rations, seed for planting the second season, sell farm produce and other goods, or even do window-shopping. While in Kakamega town, which is the economic hub of western region, I noticed lots of revelers headed to the main market; as others struggled to load goods they had bought on public transport vehicles to ferry to their homes.

The beehive of activities got me thinking about the coronavirus and how it could ravage our people if they were to lower their guard and fail to observe basic COVID-19 rules captured in the SAWBO RAPID animation video “How to Shop Safely in the Marketplace”. In this video, shoppers are advised on a number of precautionary measures to protect themselves against contracting and spreading coronavirus while at the market. Anybody going contrary to these measures risks their own lives and those of their loved ones.

SAWBO RAPID is a part of SAWBO.  SAWBO has been creating animations with experts from around the World and delivering knowledge globally for over a decade. The SAWBO library contains over 100 animations in 200+ language variants reaching over 50 million known viewers. The SAWBO RAPID project, funded by USAID through the Feed the Future Initiative and supported by the USAID Kenya Mission, identifies critical food security topics and delivers knowledge to mitigate COVID-19’s secondary economic impacts. See other SAWBO RAPID animations on their website.

Let’s look at rules that stop the spread of the virus and save lives;

  1. Properly wearing your face mask: This reduces coronavirus germs that are released into the air or inhaled from the air. People can have coronavirus and fail to notice. If they don’t wear masks properly and go to these crowded markets, the chances of spreading the virus are so high. It can end up with market closures and loss of income.
  • Washing your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water: This helps eliminate germs. Washing hands regularly or using hand sanitizers by rubbing on your hands for at least 20 seconds ensures your hands are clean and won’t transfer germs to places you touch. Meanwhile avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes as much as possible.
  • Keep a two meter distance from other market dwellers and shoppers: Keeping a safe distance reduces the risk of spreading the coronavirus. Avoid entering or staying in congested sections of the market.
Market place safety by seller | Picture Courtesy SAWBO, photographer-Gerald Andrew Akolo

Besides the precautionary measures listed above, I want to draw your attention to other practices that could ensure a quick, safe, and satisfying shopping experience. No family member would like to go shopping and bring home a coronavirus infection to the family. So, following these guidelines will help protect our families and loved ones.    

  • Plan what you’ll buy at the market in advance. Make a list of your items, and a mental draft of where to get each from the market (in case you are familiar with the market). This will drastically reduce the time taken shopping and reduce unnecessary movements. You can, as well, choose to shop at a time when the market is less busy.
  • If you are feeling sick, or a member of your family has coronavirus, or is sick, please do not go to the market for risk of spreading the virus unknowingly. Ask a neighbor to do the shopping for you.  
  • If you are walking to the market with others, please wear a clean mask and keep a physical distance of two meters apart. Never remove your mask even to be heard by the seller.
  • When you meet friends and acquaintances, do not hug or kiss them. Avoid handshakes during the pandemic. You can greet by waving from a two meters distance.
  • While shopping at the market, avoid touching products as much as possible. 

There are a number of safety recommendations outlined in the video which I advise my readers to watch and note. Remember, it is always important to stay safe and healthy by following these basic guidelines. In addition to the market shopper video, I recommend my readers who ply their trade on markets to watch the video on “How to Sell Safely in the Marketplace”, and market leaders to watch and share the video “Marketplace-Market leader”. Combining these three videos will help us better understand how to protect those shopping, those selling, and those managing our markets.

Note: The information and content in the video (content) should not substitute for professional or medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any kind. Michigan State University, Purdue University, and SAWBO disclaims responsibility or liability for any loss or injury that may be incurred as a result of the use of any content included in the video. Viewers and users of the video should always consult a physician or other professional for diagnosis, treatment and/or advice. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of the content of this video

SAWBO RAPID is funded through a grant from Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative. This blog article was made possible through support provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development under the terms of agreement no. 7200AA20LA00002. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Agency for International development or the U.S. government.

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