Latest update

On February 4th 2021, Kenya reported 180 new cases of COVID-19, raising the number of confirmed cases to 101,339. The death toll rose to 1773. The government has ordered 24 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and expects to receive them in mid-February. Face masks are required in public places, and a curfew is in effect from 10pm to 4am until March 12th 2021. 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.

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COVID-19 in Kenya

How is Compassion currently operating in Kenya?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    About three-quarters of the child development centres have resumed limited meetings, welcoming small groups of children and youths in shifts for classes and activities, either in homes, in villages or at the centres. The rest of the centres 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 more than 216,000 food packs and 43,000 hygiene kits and have provided medical support to 56,000 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:

  • God's comfort and peace to be with Juma, his family and his community as they grieve his wife's passing.
  • Young women and girls would be reminded of God's love for them and His presence in every season of life.
  • Patience, peace and encouragement for parents as they continue to help teach their children from home.
  • God would strengthen the parents’ relationships and provide a safe environment for their children to grow and develop.
  • God would keep the community in Kapedo safe and protected from harm.
  • God would give wisdom and discernment nation’s leadership as they make upcoming decisions.
  • God would continue to heal those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and prevent it from continuing to spread.
  • God would bring economic stability and peace to the country.
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


Please note: Due to the current pandemic, about three-quarters of the child development centres have resumed limited meetings, welcoming small groups of children and youths in shifts for classes and activities, either in homes, in villages or at the centres. The rest of the centres remain closed for safety and staff members there continue to make home visits and phone calls to check on families.

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.

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


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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How to Help Orphans Without Adopting

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