Despite a myriad of challenges, community-based organizations continue to support their clients beyond the Covid-19 pandemic. Most went beyond their call of duty to ensure that vulnerable families received essential care and support. Here’s the impact of Covid-19 on community-based organizations in Kenya.

The Impact of Covid-19 on Community-Based Organizations in Kenya

Kenyans of all walks of lives were relieved when President Uhuru Kenyatta lifted the dusk-to-dawn
curfew on October 20, 2021. , community-based organizations are still feeling
the impact of Covid-19.

The world is still recovering from the effects of Covid-19. While efforts have been made by
the government to salvage the situation, the impact of the pandemic on community-based organization is still going on. Here is how the impact of Covid-19 on community-based organizations in Kenya left damaging effects.

The impact of Covid-19 on community-based organizations in Kenya

Like many organizations, Lifesong Kenya’s programs and activities got affected. First, the lockdown and country-wide curfew meant we were not able to go to prison. Court hearings were also put on hold while prison visits were frozen.

With court cases not taking place, this meant that those in remand prison had to stay longer without knowing their fate, thereby affecting them psychologically. Lack of visits form friends and family resulted in being cut off from the outside world. With time, relationships got more strained.

Since our weekly programs and activities aim at bridging the gap between remandees, their families and those they have wronged, the lockdown stopped this. Therefore, all of our operations were cut off.

Secondly, we lost support from our donors who were also feeling the pinch of the pandemic. Due to lack of support, we were not able to pay staff members as well as pay our admin costs. This resulted in some of our volunteers and staff quitting our organization, leaving us short of man power.

One of the most crippling challenges faced in the community was the loss of jobs and sources of income. Families were not able to cater for their basic needs such food, shelter and medication.

This called for a solution.

The ten bob challenge

Like most grass-root based organizations, organizations under the Rags-R-Riches Consortium provided essential services and support to vulnerable groups in Kenya. Rags-R-Riches is a consortium that brings together change makers who focus on uplifting the living standards of gender based violence survivors, the homeless, juvenile delinquents and other vulnerable groups.

During the first lockdown in April 2020, Clifford Chianga Oluoch, founder of Homeless of Nairobi spearheaded an ambitious 10 day campaign. Dubbed the Ten Bob Challenge, the campaign raised a total of 1.1 million shillings and benefitted 10 organizations under the Rags-R-Riches Consortium.

“I realized that organizations under our umbrella were struggling with getting funding for their programs and activities. People were struggling to get a meal while charitable organizations were struggling more. Through the Ten Bob Challenge, we were able to support each other using our collective social capital.”

Clifford Oluoch, Homeless of Nairobi

Light at the end of the tunnel

When the pandemic hit, grass-root based organizations swiftly shifted to providing for the basic needs of the people they serve. This enabled vulnerable groups to receive care and support with food, rent and medication.

Through the Ten Bob Challenge, Lifesong Kenya was able to receive support that enabled us to meet the needs of vulnerable families.  30 households in Kibera, Satelitte, Kabiria, Kawangware, Maseno and Mumias to get help. First, we save the benefitting families from starvation. Secondly, we ensure that local businesses and shop are able to earn income. Thirdly, this guarantees stability to our beneficiaries and the businesses they usually buy supplies from.

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