Coronavirus response in Kenya - Roundup of stories from the field

14/08/2020 - 09:59
News stories

Welcome to our bi-monthly roundup of stories from the field as the European Union with its partners work together to support efforts to halt the spread of Covid-19 in Kenya and limit the negative impact of the pandemic on the lives of people across Kenya. Here we will share news, stories, and project updates. If you would like to learn more about the European Union’s Covid-19 response projects covering health, social safety, water and hygiene, support to Government, financial support to small and medium enterprises and efforts to ensure safer trade within and outside the Kenyan borders please follow our social media pages


Cash Transfers as a lifeline for vulnerable families during Covid-19

Emmaculate Onyango, a 25-year-old mother of three children, is the main breadwinner of a household of 7. Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, she would juggle a series of odd jobs including cleaning houses and washing clothes to allow her to pursue her passion project of making and selling beaded jewellery. Her efforts would bring her 500 Kenya shillings a day (approx. 5 Euros). Since the start of the pandemic Emmaculate‘s income has been reduced to approx. 150 Kenya shillings a day– barely enough to meet the needs of a family of her family.

Through the cash transfers program, Emmaculate will now receive an additional 5,641.Kenya Shillings to help meet the basic needs of her and her family. She can now buy food and water and pay for her rent.

The cash transfer program is aimed at providing a safety net to over 80,000 vulnerable families hardest hit by Covid-19. The first cash transfers for vulnerable households in Kibera were sent via mPesa (a mobile money transfer service in Kenya. 

Read more about Emmaculate’s story here.


Fighting Covid-19 One Face Mask at a Time

Since June, business has been booming for Mariana Emoru, a 38-year old woman from Loarengak village, Turkana County who has produced over 20,000 masks so far for her village and beyond. Using her sewing and beadwork skills gained from a local vocational training institute, she’s producing 50 masks per hour which are purchased by Selam Ekisil (SEEK) project and distributed to residents of Lowarengak town.

“Even with little education, I am proud of my role in protecting the health of the people of Lowarengak and am thankful to SEEK for promoting my business. This endorsement of local solutions goes a long way in building confidence and ownership, which will remain long after the projects have left.” - Mariana Emoru

Village Elders fighting against the spread of Covid

With rising Covid-19 cases, members of communities in Kenya have become hygiene champions as part of communal responsibility for each other’s wellbeing. Village Elder, Mzee Wambura Marwa is one of our Covid-19 heroes. With training from the EU funded Kenya Red Cross programme Mzee Wambura works with Red Cross staff and volunteers to ensure that each family from the fifty  households he oversees, is aware of the virus and is taking appropriate measures to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“I was trained by the Kenya Red cross on how to raise awareness in my community on Covid-19. We learnt preventative measures, how to wear masks, hand washing and maintaining social distance. I live in an area that has 12 village elders and I am the chairman. Together we are teaching the community how to prevent Covid-19.So far we are progressing well and we haven’t recorded any Covid-19 cases so far.

here's a video from the project


Providing access to water and sanitation for vulnerable communities 

Through the Water Sector Trust Fund (WSTF), communities in Kitui, Kajiado, Kilifi and Mandera Counties have received vital emergency support necessitated by Covid-19. Some of the residents of these counties, particularly families with a lower income, were hardest hit mainly due to lack of access to basic sanitation.

Through this programme, over 430,000 litres of water will be trucked into the communities most affected to ensure that the families living there will be able to maintain an acceptable level of proper hygiene in line with Covid-19 Prevention Measures.

In addition the project will also provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including, sanitizers, hand washing soap, water tanks, water trucking, and community outreach exercises. Community leaders including Chiefs, women leaders, youth leaders, and peoplewith disabilities also underwent training on Covid-19 management as a way of addressing the social elements required to fight the pandemic as part of curbing community transmission and secondary spread.

From peace champions to health champions!

Our programme on Regional approaches for sustainable conflict management and integration (RASMI) has assisted a network of local influencers to transition from peace champions to health champions.

Through, road shows, community radio and other activities, the health champions have reached over 180,000 people in the Mandera Triangle. The Mandera Triangle- the shared border areas of Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya has long experienced armed conflict, extremism and political instability. Covid-19 has threatened to further exacerbate the conflict and thus the immediate action has not only helped to save lives through health prevention measures but also helped promote peace in the region.

Read more about their efforts: here


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