Posts on Kenya
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it several adverse effects not only on health outcomes, but also on economic and social well-being. Since the first case appeared in March, there have been at least 8,000 cases and 169 deaths in Kenya, with the government imposing lock-down restrictions, including social-distancing rules and work-from-home advisories. Learning institutions have been closed and the 2020 academic year annulled with all primary and secondary schools expected to remain closed until January 2021. The Ministry of Education has made attempts to ensure continuity of education through distance online learning that has been delivered through internet, television and radio. However, marginalized households have been unable to benefit from the continued learning due to lack of access.
The outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease has resulted in suspension of most economic activities devastating people’s source of livelihood. The loss of livelihoods and suspension of income generation activities poses risk to school age children who may be forced into income-generating activities to supplement their households’ earnings. School-age girls are performing household chores at the expense of learning and reportedly engaging in risky sexual behaviours. A recent survey by Kenya Health Information System survey featured in the local dailies shows a surge in teen pregnancies with one of the 47 counties (Machakos) reporting a total of 3,964 girls aged 19 years and below to be pregnant. Five percent of the girls were reported to be aged 14 years and below.
Despite the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on women and girls, very few policy interventions have been targeted specifically at this group if at all. Women and girls remain largely neglected. Generating rigorous evidence on these disproportionate effects is consequently important for policy, advocacy and support services. With evidence, government can target specific interventions or policies, and donors and other groups could be able to roll out programs that benefit women and girls.