COVID-19 and Compassion’s Work in Kenya

An in-depth look at the coronavirus pandemic in Kenya

Last Updated: 04/12/2021

Kenya is experiencing a third wave of the pandemic. In response, the president reimposed restrictions on movement into and out of the capital, Nairobi, and four other counties in late March. As of April 5, Kenya had administered enough doses to fully vaccinate about 0.2% of its 48.4 million people. 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%. Many families rely on day-to-day employment and are struggling to feed themselves.

About three-quarters of the child development centers have resumed limited meetings; these are commonly small groups of children in homes and/or small groups of youths at the centers. The rest of the centers remain closed for safety, and staff members there continue to make home visits and phone calls to check on families. 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 nearly 230,000 food packs and 55,000 hygiene kits and have provided medical support to over 67,000 individuals.

COVID response in Kenya

A Message From National Staff

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.

Are Compassion Centers Open?

The majority of centers in Kenya have restarted programming, welcoming small groups of children and youths in shifts for classes and activities, either in homes, in villages or at the centers. Staff members also continue to make phone calls and conduct home visits. Because of the generous support of sponsors and donors, they have been able to distribute nearly 230,000 food packs and 55,000 hygiene kits to children and their families.

COVID response in Kenya

child reading IconStory From the Field

When COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, Anne, a mother of three who lives in Nairobi's Gatina slums, couldn’t have imagined how drastically her life would change. When the Kenyan government issued a nationwide quarantine, she was out of her job as a teacher.

“We had to stay home for a long time with no job. But with the bills to pay piling up, just like rent, and needing to provide food for the kids, it was a struggle to provide,” says Anne.

After a month, the stress was almost too much to bear. Anne was sick with stomach ulcers and required medication. She and her family were not the only ones feeling the brunt of the pandemic. Sam, the director at the Compassion center Anne’s daughter attends, witnessed the devastation and desperation firsthand.

“We constantly had caregivers at our door asking for assistance. Some had been kicked out of their homes, some didn’t have food, and the needs [were so much],” recalls Sam.

The center responded by providing food relief and financial assistance to the caregivers. Church members even stepped forward and made donations to help families like Anne’s.

“I thank God because the church stood with us, from the prayers to the assistance that the center accorded to us. My husband and I were able to start a small grocery business with the financial aid we received from the Compassion center. This enabled us to meet our very immediate needs, provide for our family and keep a roof over our heads,” says Anne.

Although the situation is still far from normal, Anne is optimistic that things will be better. “Our hope is in God and we will keep trusting in him despite all the fear and uncertainty,” she says. “Our prayer is that this thing will end, and normalcy will resume!”

How can I pray for Kenya?

Please pray for efficient distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and that God would provide daily needs for people in Kenya. 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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