How OneChild Kenya Is Dealing With COVID-19

By Donna Atola, Kenya Field Content Specialist

Following the recent reports on the International outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be wondering about the effect of the virus on the OneChild sponsored children and the running of the program.

To curb the spread of the virus, public gatherings are currently banned, and learning institutions across Kenya have been closed.

With reduced social meetings, including church gatherings as well as Hope Center meetings, the effectiveness of the program is reduced. The local church is experiencing less Hope Center activities which include a halt to the Hope Center attendance by the sponsored Children.

The Field Office in Kenya has measures in place to ensure the OneChild mission is accomplished during this time. The measures seek to ensure the Child Champions, Hope Center staff and the kids are safe and engaged to run the program.

The Child Champions in Malindi, Kajiado, and Turkana are currently conducting home visits to educate the sponsored children, their families and the communities about the virus, teach preventive measures which include basic hygiene routines to observe during this period, the signs and symptoms of the virus and the curative measures to take.

The preventive messages are tailored by the field office in collaboration with the Information provided by the Ministry of Health in Kenya

The activities currently being trained include handwashing sessions with soap and running water.

At Grace Hope Center (KE-040) and Rehema Hope Center (KE-044) in Malindi, Child Champions have taught kids on how to construct Leaky-tins. A Leaky tin is a simple handwashing device whereby a five or 10 liters’ container with a small hole near the bottom is filled with water and the hole tipped with a stick, for running water.

A majority of families we minister to do not have taps and they have to fetch water kilometers away from boreholes in the community

Children are also being made to understand the reasons behind the semi-lockdown across the country which has affected their attendance at Hope Centers, movement and their play routines with friends.

In Turkana, Lotubae (KE-23), Elelea (KE-24) and Mowlem (KE-21) Hope Centers have incorporated the village leadership (Nyumba Kumi Elders) in the home visits to help deepen the spread of information on the virus.

In addition to teaching the kids, the Child Champions are also sharing a message of hope to the kids and the families and urging them to trust in God during this time as they pray with the families.

Kenya Country Director Mr. Nicholas Kimatu believes the first step to winning this fight against coronavirus is praying and equipping the children and community with facts about the virus which will help the community battle misinformation about the virus.

“Our emergency response aims at preventing the spread of the virus and its devastating effects. This is why we are mobilizing ourselves to help meet the cognitive needs of the children during this unprecedented time and ensure effective ministry in-spite of the prevailing conditions,” says Mr. Kimatu

He adds, “Above all we need to remind our caregivers that God is in control and that Coronavirus will BE a hitch in the ministry that we will overcome.”

The kids are also receiving food baskets from the Hope Centers that Child Champions carry along during the visits.