Hope, humanitarian expert in Kenya – Global Perspectives during COVID-19
At the WCIA, we understand that the outbreak of COVID-19 is difficult for so many people across the world. We are reaching out to people worldwide to share global perspectives on COVID-19, recognising the global nature of the issue, and some of the similarities and differences of experiences in different countries. We want to identify and share both the positive and negative stories emerging from the situation.
Paul Cronin is a former British military officer who spent 20 years leading expeditionary operations in Africa, the Balkans, Middle East and Pacific before resigning his commission and moving into the humanitarian sector in 2012. He reached out to Hope, a humanitarian monitoring and evaluation expert who has worked in some of the most difficult countries in Africa on a range of emergency responses. She is currently in Kenya.
As of April 1st, there are a total of 50 confirmed new cases and 1 death reported from Kenya.
This is Hope’s story:
“As in other parts of Africa, Covid-19 is having a huge impact on the lives of Kenyan people. As the 29th most populated country in the world with a population of 47.6 million people, the potential for the virus to spread is daunting. Bordered by Somalia, Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia, Kenya’s 580,000 square kilometres are divided into 48 semi-autonomous self-governing regions, all of which are dealing with the outbreak in differing ways.
“The main issues so far are a lack of credible information/guidance, and a large huge deficit of essential supplies such as soap and hand sanitizer that are critical to minimise the spread within large rural areas of the country.
“The potential for the virus to spread is daunting”
“Not surprisingly, on the 20th of March the Kenyan Ministry of Health identified community mitumba, vegetable and bazaar markets as potential vectors for the disease. The advice was for country governments to ensure all such venues were ‘cleaned up and provided with soap and water’, however at this point little has action has been taken other than token efforts to disinfect certain areas which appear designed to appease, rather than stop the spread of Covid-19.
“A recent article in the newspaper ‘Nation’ showcased Ms Monica Mugure, a mitumba seller who said her revenue had gone down drastically. In the article, she said:
‘Usually, by such noon, I would have broken even, but now I barely get half the amount, but we have to persevere because we depend on what we earn here to cater for our daily needs. We must work in order to eat. I can’t begin to think of a situation where I am forced to close the business because I have many expenses, such as fending for my family, and paying rent and school fees for my children. If we close, I don’t know what will happen, unless the government provides us with food’.
“We depend on what we earn here to cater for our daily needs. We must work in order to eat”
“As the situation worsens, those who are able have begun practising social distancing, however it is almost impossible to self-isolate given that there is so far no financial assistance package for individuals or businesses from the Kenyan government.”
Would you like to share your story of the situation/ challenges facing your country?
We are asking anyone willing to share to answer the following questions and send to – firstname.lastname@example.org
- What is the situation like in your country?
- What are some of the main challenges for people?
- Are there any positive stories coming out of this situation that can be inspiration for others?