The impact of Covid-19 crisis in Kenya
Author Sami Syrjälä
We are living in an exceptionally challenging times and the biggest challenge for majority of us is the uncertainty. In addition to the direct health threat, uncertainty of livelihood is something that many of us have experienced on a personal level. However, it is important to remember that we are not alone with our experiences, but we are all facing them together. During the difficult times it is important that we are ready to support and encourage each other. When the challenges are global, so are the solutions.
Over the last years Kenya has made an enormous progress in poverty reduction. This progress has now been eroded by the pandemic and estimably two million people have been forced into poverty, due to the challenges of private sector. Unemployment has almost doubled, and many low-income families have lost their jobs.
The work of our artisans still continues, but some of their husbands have become unemployed. The responsibility of providing income has shifted from men to women, and the earnings from Mifuko have provided a safety net for the families, for example, by securing food availability and covering the children’s school fees.
Income from Mifuko has also helped in maintaining other family businesses, such as selling vegetables and eggs. Earlier some of the men thought that the worktime at Mifuko was away from the household chores, but now the attitudes towards women’s work have changed. Men have taken more responsibility of the household tasks, so that women could focus on their work.In this challenging situation the artisans have taken a great responsibility of the family’s economic affairs. Men, despite the uncertainties in working life, have provided their support and have been taken care of the household chores. This mutual support demonstrates how we can be there for one another during these difficult times.