Since the first case was reported in Kenya in March 2020, the numbers of COVID-19 infected persons continue to grow exponentially with figures as on 29/05/2020, standing at over one thousand seven hundred (over 1,700) and Deaths at over fifty (50). The current mode of infection, Community Transmission is heaping a challenge on the government and therefore needs everyone’s effort to mitigate. In its strict measures to curb the virus, the government has imposed a stop to all public gatherings, night to dawn curfew, and Lockdowns in certain high infection areas, including the capital city, Nairobi.
As in many countries across Africa, the rising numbers in Kenya may still seemingly be low as compared to other parts of the world. The Ministry of Health projection indicates that the Peak Point will be around September. However, the Pandemic has already created a significant negative impact on the Social and Economic wellbeing of the Kenyan people, a majority who live below the poverty line. Many people have lost jobs and businesses, families go without food, are not able to buy face masks – with cases of sharing of masks, posing more risks, not able to afford handwashing soap, sometimes access to clean water, handwashing points in public spaces very few, in some areas none! Teenage girls are not able to access sanitary kits, with schools closed a lot of unhealthy relationships among teenagers and youth is rampant with reported cases of high teenage pregnancies.
The Volunteer Involving Organizations (VIO) Society, Kenya in partnership with Good Deeds Day (GDD) realizes that this is a very crucial time when volunteers must rise up and be counted in the fight against Corona Virus. These unprecedented challenges have prompted many volunteers around the world to respond in many ways supporting within their own countries and abroad.
Here in Kenya, Volunteers across the country are already reaching out to each other, creating and maintaining local mutual aid and self-help for poorer and vulnerable communities. We however remain keen on their safety, security, wellbeing and sometimes their uncoordinated diverse efforts – which we’ve tried to address effectively by adhering to government directives and protocols.
We are working with Volunteer-run Community Based Groups spread around the country with specific focus on Nairobi’s informal settlements – Mathare, Korogocho, Kibra, Gomongo, Soweto, Mukuru and Rarieda, a rural area based in Siaya County to the Western part of Kenya. More call for help keeps on coming to us. Communities within these marked areas are mostly living in abject poverty, below the one-dollar margin. At the same time, the living set up within these communities complicates the effective adoption of the Covid-19 Preventive Measures.
As a starter, we have already initiated a pilot with five different Volunteers Groups who are carrying out awareness campaigns and enhancing Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Programs and where possible Food Rations. Each team is highly advised to take and adhere to all the precautionary measures as directed by the government.
The main objective of our Response is to work with local communities to complement the Governments efforts in the fight against the spread and impact of Covid-19, to gradually Stabilize towards Secure Livelihoods now and post the Pandemic
- Awareness campaigns on COVID-19
- WASH Activities – handwashing demonstration, distribution of soap, hand sanitizers, small size water tanks for hand washing in strategic areas like Market Centres, Religious Centres,
- Distribution of Dry Food and other food items
- Psycho-social Support
- Support Initiatives on Secure Livelihoods
(a). Boosting of small enterprises’ e.g. Groceries shops, Hair saloon Shops, Food Kiosks… and
(b). Boosting of Small Scale/Peasant Farming in rural communities.
- Monitoring and Evaluation