COVID-19 and Compassion’s Work in Kenya

An in-depth look at the coronavirus pandemic in Kenya

Last Updated: 10/19/2020

Kenya is experiencing a new surge in cases of COVID-19; the total surpassed 43,000 on Oct. 15, and the number of deaths reached 797. Nairobi continues to have the highest number of new cases daily, though numbers are growing in other counties. Scientific researchers say two-thirds of people surveyed in Kenya have experienced economic hardship due to the pandemic, and the number living with food insecurity increased by 38%. The government has begun a phased reopening of schools, and the president has announced that churches can host up to one-third of their capacity.

Compassion centers in Kenya have not reopened, but staff members are doing a blend of virtual, center-based and home-based programming, depending on the region and the risk of local transmission of the virus. At the centers, small groups gather while obeying local guidelines. Church partners are working to provide psychological support to help the children and families who are experiencing anxiety caused by the pandemic. We are grateful to report that staff members have distributed 84,156 food packs and 9,953 hygiene kits and have provided medical support to 10,310 individuals.

COVID response in Kenya

How is Compassion Currently Operating in Kenya?

Below, you will find the latest information on how Compassion is currently operating in Kenya, including status updates on center openings, letter delivery and gift delivery. This is the most current information we have, though it can change quickly. Please know that all children and their families are being checked in on regularly by staff, either in person or by phone, even if the Compassion center is not open for programming. Watch this video for a detailed explanation of how COVID-19 is affecting Compassion centers and how local partners are caring for each registered child during this season.

Are Compassion Centers Open?

At this point, all centers in Kenya are closed in order to abide by local guidelines, though some have permitted small groups to gather in regions where numbers are declining. Staff members are still calling and checking in on families, and in some communities they are able to visit children while obeying social distancing guidelines. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute 84,156 food packs and 9,953 hygiene kits to children and their families!

COVID response in Kenya

child reading IconStory From the Field

Geoffrey stepped out of the church building onto the dry, red soil, lifting his eyes to the sky. He had heard the stories of locust plagues, but his village hadn't witnessed such devastation in generations. A single father of two, he still recalls that moment with disbelief.

"We went out to see for ourselves. They looked like clouds covering the whole sky," he says.

In mid-February, his family's village in Kitui County, Kenya, was infested by a large swarm of locusts that destroyed all of the crops within one week. “We tried chasing them away by beating drums. They escaped for a while, but then came back and finished everything. Even the cows and goats had no pasture. All our food was eaten. They were here for a week and then they left. I would have harvested a lot of food to sell, but all that was gone,” says Geoffrey, whose 9-year-old daughter, Faith, and 20-year-old son, Vincent, are registered in Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program.

When the locusts left, the village struggled to recover. National restrictions due to COVID-19 made circumstances even more difficult.

But Compassion's local church partner provided for devastated families and supported them to start farming again. Geoffrey's family was given renewed hope as he was enabled to purchase food and start raising chickens.

“COVID-19 has made it difficult for many families, ours included, to make a living and get food,” says Geoffrey. “Locusts destroyed our crops, COVID-19 restricted our livelihoods. So, I decided to rear chickens to help me with food and income. I started with two hens and they were able to grow to 60, and I've now sold 30 chickens. They have enabled me to pay school fees and feed my family.”

Geoffrey's family, along with other Compassion-assisted children and their families, have joined an existing registered group of farmers, providing each other with more food options. “Whenever I visit the other Compassion-assisted families, I always come back with some vegetables and other crops,” says Geoffrey.

Pastor Simon, from Compassion’s partner church, is hopeful for restoration. “We keep praying to God our Maker. We know we are going to recover all that has been lost.”

How can I pray for Kenya?

Pray for the frontline church partners’ creativity as they continue to adjust and find additional innovative ways to support the children in their communities. For more prayer resources, visit Compassion’s COVID-19 prayer page for prayer guides and a virtual prayer wall.

How Can I Help?

Sponsor a Child in Kenya
Give to Compassion’s COVID-19 Relief Fund
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