While no time is a good time for a pandemic to happen, ChildFund Kenya’s Country Director, Chege Ngugi, said that COVID-19 really “hit the country at the wrong time”. Recent droughts, floods and locust infestations in Kenya, coupled with ongoing issues with the lack of access to safe water, sanitation, healthcare, and education, will mean the pandemic hits communities in Kenya even harder.
ChildFund is working with partners in Kenya to raise awareness about the risks of coronavirus and the importance of hygiene and social distancing, supply soap and fresh water to households and community centres, give cash assistance to some families, keep abuse reporting channels open to protect children, and to provide helpful information to caregivers on parenting during COVID-19.
ChildFund Kenya is also developing an e-learning platform and ways for students to access it through radios and smartphones.
ChildFund's work in Kenya to protect children from COVID-19
COVID-19 impacted most of our work in Emali, our dedicated programme area...
One of the biggest challenges experienced in 2020 was the lockdown and restriction of movement and gatherings in Kenya as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This changed almost every aspect of our work in Emali: meetings were cancelled, child visits weren’t able to take place and most of the planned activities were put on hold in order to respond quickly and appropriately to COVID-19.
With local markets closed, ChildFund stepped in to help families to cope...
The pandemic has also led to the closure of several livestock markets in the Emali area, where many households earn an income. This means, families are making less money, and are unable to adequately feed their families. To address this, ChildFund has identified 347 children and their families to receive emergency food items like maize, beans, cooking oil, salt and porridge flour.
To reduce the spread of the virus, face masks were sewn and distributed to children...
In order to ensure children in Emali were safe, ChildFund distributed face masks to every child in the sponsorship programme.
To do this, we reached out to a sponsored child who had previously completed a basic skills training course in sewing. Thanks to her support, 1,840 face masks were sewn (following the guidelines set by the Ministry of Health), and they were delivered to children with the assistance of programme volunteers.
Improving hygiene in Emali by making handwashing safe and convenient...
One of the best ways to slow the spread of coronavirus is with frequent handwashing.
Thanks to the support of our child sponsors, ChildFund was able to install 10 handwashing stations in convenient locations around Emali, encouraging everyone to practice good hygiene. Each handwashing station can hold 1,000 litres of water, and has enough soap to last for an entire month of frequent handwashing.
Utilising new techniques to continue child sponsorship activities in Emali...
Most people around the world will agree: COVID-19 has forced us all to think about how we do everyday things in new ways. For our in-country team, this meant being creative about how to keep the sponsorship programme running without increasing the risk of spreading the coronavirus.
Through the use of mobile technology, ChildFund staff in Emali were able to communicate with the parents of sponsored children. This allowed us to keep a record of the children in our programme, as well as the immediate needs of their family. Also, the team could let families know if they had received any letters or special gifts from their child’s sponsor in New Zealand. They could then schedule a time to come to the ChildFund office when others weren’t around, limiting contact. Due to these efforts, there were no cases of COVID-19 in our child sponsorship programme in Emali.