Latest update

The spread of COVID-19 has slowed in Kenya, with most positive cases reported in Nairobi. Scientific researchers say two-thirds of people surveyed in Kenya experienced economic hardship due to the pandemic, and the number living with food insecurity increased by 38 per cent. Teachers have been told to return to schools on 28 September to prepare classrooms for the return of students, possibly in October. Final-year science students have been allowed back to universities to do their practicals in order to be ready for graduation at the end of the year.

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COVID-19 in Kenya

How is Compassion currently operating in Kenya?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    Compassion centres in Kenya have not reopened, but staff are doing a blend of virtual, centre-based and home-based programming, depending on the region and the risk of local transmission of the virus.

    At the centres, 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.

    Staff members have distributed 84,156 food packs and 9,953 hygiene kits and have provided medical support to 10,310 individuals.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    The majority of letters are delayed in Kenya, which means it may take longer for you to receive letters from your sponsored child. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write! We encourage you to continue sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed in Kenya, although they are currently delayed. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to caregivers, where appropriate. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognising that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for children and families in Kenya who have been impacted by COVID-19—and the local staff and churches who continue to serve them in difficult circumstances.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • The safety of the 70 mothers and their babies who are registered with survival projects.
  • God would provide access and the necessary support for the children who have special needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • God would protect and keep the children and youth safe from any potential abuse or violence.
  • Local church partners' creativity as they continue to adjust and find additional creative ways to support the children in their communities.
  • Wisdom and insight for the staff as they seek to protect and care for the children in their communities against potential abuse or domestic violence.
  • God would give an abundance of patience and grace to the parents and caregivers as they care and teach their children.
  • God would provide a way for the children who need to travel for critical medical care.
  • God would be with, protect, and keep the teachers safe as they educate and teach the children to become successful, thriving adults.
  • The youth’s safety and wisdom as the country’s teenage pregnancy rate has increased during COVID-19.
Using mobile technology in Kenya

Using mobile technology in Kenya

After a stampede during a food distribution—that was not Compassion-related—claimed the lives of two people in Nairobi’s Kibera slum, the Kenyan government banned the direct distribution of aid and food from non-government organisations. This restriction, alongside social distancing quarantine measures, has greatly affected families living in poverty who depend on casual labour for their livelihood.   Read more open_in_new

Crisis Reports from Kenya

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    Flooding Caused by Overflow of Lake Baringo, Kenya (Crisis Update) 10 Sep, 2020

    The situation

    The flooding has continued in Baringo.

    Global Compassion impact

    Number of local church partners affected: 0 Number of Compassion assisted children affected: 15

    New information

    Affected families have all permanently moved and are temporarily living with friends and family. They have lost their livelihood and household items. The local church partner is supporting them with food and warm clothes.

    Prayer

    Please pray for provision for the affected children and their families as they look for new homes.

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Please note: Due to the current pandemic, most child development centres in Kenya are temporarily closed. Our local church partners continue to meet the urgent needs of the children through home-based care.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in Kenya

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care.
  • Children aged 3 to 5 visit the Compassion centre for eight hours on Saturday.
  • Children aged 6 to 11 attend for four to six hours a week.
  • Students aged 12 and older attend for four hours a week. Centres are open for extended weekend hours during school holidays.
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Compassion Program Activities in Kenya

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Compassion assisted children in Kenya typically attend program activities at their local child development centre on Saturdays. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in Kenya.

9:00am - A time of prayer and devotion.

9:30am - Spiritual lessons, in which children sing songs and learn Bible stories.

10:30am - Break time, when children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships. A typical snack consists of a cup of porridge or tea, bread and fruit, and in some cases an egg.

11:00am - Social-emotional lessons ranging from conflict resolution to developing healthy self-esteem and developing a godly character. Children often come from challenging home environments and are taught social and personal skills.

12:00pm - Lunch time. The meal usually consists of rice or ugali, beef stew, bean stew or legumes, and green leafy vegetables such as kale or cabbage. Children who are HIV-positive are given nutritional supplements to boost their immunity. During times of food scarcity, children come to the centre with their siblings just for a meal as it’s the only place they are able to eat.

1:00pm - Health lessons, in which children learn practical health and hygiene tips. Example topics include how to prevent malaria and HIV transmission.

2:00pm - Letter writing and career planning. Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests and set goals for their future.

Children are encouraged to join in a variety of extracurricular activities including annual football competitions, teen camps held during the holidays and talent days where children perform music, drama or poems. When they reach the age of 12, youth can elect vocational training skills, such as computer training, carpentry, motor vehicle repair, dressmaking, cooking, hairdressing, driving and life skills.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in Kenya

342

mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births

Kenya is a leader in its region, with the poverty rate steadily falling and living conditions improving for many Kenyans. But most communities depend on small-scale agriculture for their livelihoods, meaning drought and other serious weather events could plunge millions back into poverty. According to the World Bank, the proportion of Kenyans living below the international poverty line (US$1.90 per day) has declined from 43.6 per cent in 2005/06 to 35.6 per cent in 2015/16.

Yet a lack of adequate medical care still affects many rural areas, and families are often forced to walk long distances to receive help. The spread of HIV/AIDS is a major concern; currently 1.5 million people in Kenya are living with HIV/AIDS—the fourth-largest epidemic in the word—and 28,000 die every year as a result of the disease.

Additionally, over one-quarter of women between the ages of 15 and 49 have been subjected to female genital mutilation—again, these figures are among the highest in the world—though the practice has significantly declined in recent years.

In the past decade, Kenya’s relationship with neighbouring Somalia has been fraught. In October 2011, Kenya’s military crossed the border to curb the threat of al-Shabaab, a Somali-based Islamist extremist group. However, the violence has spilled back across Kenya’s borders, as al-Shabaab launched reprisal attacks, including suicide bombings. In September 2013, terrorists laid siege to a Nairobi shopping mall. The attack was one of the worst in Kenya’s history, with at least 67 civilians and soldiers killed and more than 200 wounded. To this day, tension between the two countries continues to simmer.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s founding leader Jomo Kenyatta, won his second term in office in 2017 despite initial findings of irregularities, when the main opposition party boycotted the re-run election.

Under his leadership, the economy has grown strongly but Kenya ranks very low on Transparency International’s corruption index and critics say President Kenyatta has not done enough to reform a culture of favouritism and bribery.

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12 Feb, 2020

Why Sponsor a Child with Compassion?

Considering sponsorship? Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Program doesn’t just address a child’s physical needs, but the needs of their heart, mind and soul. Here are three ways our sponsorship program is different. .. Read more

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