The Effects of COVID-19
The Corona virus has caused untold suffering on many Kenyans especially the ones living in the informal settlements like Kibera. Hot on the heels of the such calamities as the floods and the locust invasion made a bad situation worse. The effects of the those calamities affected agriculture and hence the price of food.
To tame the spread of the pandemic the Government put in restrictions such as lock down, curfew, social distancing, wearing of masks , proper hand washing and sanitizing. Transporters were asked to carry half the capacity off their vehicles and have with them hand washing kits.
Further to this all learning institutions were closed indefinitely thereby sending children, who otherwise were boarding in schools, home.
The restrictions had many negative effects.
Measures to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 are resulting in job losses, both for casual workers in informal sector and daily -wage earners in the formal sector, both of which employ a high proportion or women.
Due to curfews and limited movement of people, many roles have become redundant, resulting in job losses or unpaid leave. Workers who already live in poverty and cannot afford to have precautionary savings consequently face a high risk of falling into poverty and might experience even greater challenges in regaining the livelihoods after the pandemic.
Employers have been forced to downsize the workforce, give unpaid leave or make temporary layoffs. In a bid to contribute to mitigating the spread of COVID-19,Kijiji Cha Upendo Children’s Project implemented safety measures including sensitizing its beneficiaries about the pandemic.
Hand washing sensitization was carried out in our offices for the beneficiaries and out of the office for the general public in conjunction with the local government office. The funds for this exercises were donated by our donors i.e. Village of Love Canada, Women Inter Church Council of Canada and Canadian Samaritan Africa. Sister Terasa Kiragu, a friend of Fr. Stan Chu Ilo, the President of Canadian Samaritan Africa came and visited us when we were distributing the food baskets and gave her donation.
Food Basket Distribution
Due to job losses and reduced purchasing power by most households putting food on the table became even harder than before. Again KCU has been distributing Food Baskets to the beneficiaries since March 2020 and will do so till, if funds allow, the curve is flattened. Scarcity of food is a big hindrance to the health of people put on drugs for various illnesses.
Placing Hand Washing Kits in strategic places.
KCU also placed Hand Washing Kits in various places where our beneficiaries run their businesses. After sensitizing the beneficiaries and their children they went and taught the general public how to wash hands, put on face masks correctly and how to sanitize.
We tasked one of our beneficiaries who is a tailor to make masks that we distributed to our beneficiaries and their families free of charge.
Water, Soap and Sanitizers
We provided Water, Soap and Sanitizers at all the stations we put up with Hand Washing Kits. Scarcity of water, and its high price when available, is an obstacle in the fight against the virus.
Information , Education and Communication material (IEC)
To stem the spread of the dreaded COVID-19 virus all learning institutions were ordered to close by Government. Chances are that the government thought that the schools will be closed only for a short while. It has been seven months and it is believed that the earliest the schools may open could be in January 2021. Colleges were supposed to open in September but it never happened. It is for that reason that KCU has been downloading studying material for the students to keep them in abreast with learning.
Families have experienced, since Covid- 19 struck, upheavals and hence rise in domestic violence. The youth have so much time on their hands and most of them are being lured into unbecoming traits by their peers. This has prompted us to engage the youth in counseling sessions by our staff or the children’s department.