Apr 8, 2021

Coping with Covid 19

Kenya, like many other countries, is now experiencing the third wave of Covid 19 which threatens to erase all the gains it has made as a country in fighting the pandemic over the last year. As of March 15, 2021, there have been 113,967 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 88,596 recovered patients and 1,918 related deaths. The Kenyan government continues to impose nationwide curfews as a means to curb the spread of the virus, while continuing to uphold the basic mandatory Covid 19 precautions. The beginning of 2021 saw our schools and other public places of gathering reopen, after a 10-month curfew imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. However, after the country lifted restrictions by reopening these places, members of the public became neglectful in following basic Covid 19 precautions like wearing masks in public, sanitizing, and keeping social distance. Sadly, this neglect has led to the onward surge in Covid cases in both the rural and urban communities unlike before where the rural areas were considered preferably safer.

On the brighter side, Kenya has begun its Covid-19 vaccination rollout. The vaccine rollout will be done in three phases. The first involves 1.25 million people and runs between now and June 2021. Phase two will run between July 2021 and June 2022, targeting the most vulnerable, including the elderly and those above 18 years with comorbidities.

As for Macheo, 2021 presented itself with a new feeling of a return to normalcy after the year that 2020 had been. Covid had affected both our work and the way we work in the communities we are involved. We had quickly already adjusted to the new normal and had to re-adjust again following the new ease of restrictions. As we returned, it was most paramount for us to ensure that the children under our care and our staff are safe and protected. We are guided by a framework that is vigorous and making actual and meaningful changes. We know that it works and we make use of expertise as well as lessons learned over the years to help us do the best for more children in Kenya.

We are extremely grateful for your generous and continued support this first quarter of 2021 that has enabled us to continue with our work during these unprecedented times. This report reviews Macheo’s work in the period January - March 2021 and is meant to update you on the lives you transformed including also how your donation was utilized. Below also we have shared with you one example of how your donation is making a huge difference this quarter. Thank you for standing by us. We hope we can continue working together throughout the remaining part of 2021 to ensure we continue to help many children who are going through challenges especially during this pandemic. Your support continues to make a difference and means a lot to her families here in Kenya.

Our impact with your partnership 

Jane* 43, is married to Patrick* 48, and together they have three children Simon* 18, Abigail* 14, and Immaculate* 1. A few years ago, Jane’s husband, suffered a stroke and Jane had to take up the mantle as the breadwinner for the family as well as the caregiver to her husband. When this happened, Jane found herself between a rock and a hard place. She could not find the means to provide for her families needs which included urgent medical care for her ailing husband, School fees for her teenage daughter Abigail, who was in high school and ran the risk of bad peer pressure and early teenage pregnancy, food, and other essential needs in the household.

Eventually, Jane was starting to get scared that her one-year-old child would soon get malnourished because she could not afford to feed herself and her child properly. Additionally her older son, Simon is a drug addict who would frequently get violent and harass her.

When Macheo identified Jane, she was in a great deal of distress. She had all these problems which she could not find solutions to. After assessing her situation, Macheo realized that she had already managed to hire some 4 acres of land next to the river to start a farming business but did not have enough resources to start. We then helped her to purchase 2 bags of fertilizer as well as tomatoes seedlings, sukumawiki seedlings, and spinach seedlings at a cost of Ksh. 5220 ($50). We also empowered her on ways to manage her income and savings.

Today, Jane has started making money through her farm. On average, she now makes between 500 and 600 ksh per day ($5-$6) This has enabled her to provide for her family's needs without strain. Her daughter’s fees are paid, her family eats a good and healthy diet, and this month, she will be enrolling in the National health insurance fund (NHIF) which will help cover her husband's medical needs as well as that of her children. She also has plans to buy a water pump later in the year. Her life today and that of her family have positively transformed.

Thanks for your overwhelming support. Without it these changes would have never happened.

Dec 15, 2020

Surviving successfully during COVID

Diana's food stall
Diana's food stall

HOUSEHOLD ECONOMIC STRENGTHENING REPORT 

Many micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Kenya saw their incomes disappear overnight because of COVID-19. With limited emergency reserves, about 75 percent of them were at risk of collapsing, according to a Central Bank of Kenya survey conducted in April 2020.  These small businesses play a crucial role for economic development of the communities. They are a vital engine in economy, since they drive growth, create employment especially among youth and vulnerable families, thus spearheading innovation. They also provide a customer base to larger companies across the supply chain and supply vital goods and services to companies and households, helping to keep the wheels of the economy in motion. Macheo had to come up with ways that encouraged the vulnerable families to keep their businesses a float.

Our main focus was to ensure that entrepreneurs were supported as well as equipping our beneficiaries with skills and capabilities they needed to rebuild and grow after the crisis. For example, most of them benefited from additional training in business scenario planning or managing scarce financial resources. 

We also gave out relief funding to cushion the businesses and the families whose life was disrupted due to the corona pandemic. The cash transfers were unconditional and the beneficiaries would pay for accumulated debts, pay house rent, buy medicine or just buy food. In this effort, Macheo also worked with these families to develop resilience strategies and to help them reimagine their business going forward. 

Success story

32-year-old Diana* lost her job after the lockdown was introduced in Kenya. "I was absolutely devastated after I lost my job that enabled me to pay my bills and provide for my family. I continued living with my family in a house we had rented but after two months of joblessness, I was already sinking into poverty,” says Diana. “I had to come to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t be able to pay my rent and provide food for my children as I frantically tried my best to come up with a solution to my problems.” she adds

Macheo met Diana at a point she was almost chased out of her house by the landlord since she had three months rent arrears. Her two children often missed meals and were living at the mercy of well-wishers. She had decided to take the plunge and set up a business but she didn’t have any money to launch the business. Diana was then enrolled in Macheo’s household economic strengthening intervention so as to start her own business. Diana decided to start up a grocery which was a major boost and has enabled her family to have a stable income. She can `now provide for her children and no longer worries about what her children will eat.  

“It's something I had been thinking about doing, and this gave me a push to do it. I suddenly had a lot of free time, so I managed to set everything up immediately after receiving Macheo’s support," Diana says. It was very devastating and agonizing when I couldn't provide for my children. If it were not for Macheo my children could be starving, they wouldn't be healthy and happy as they look today,” she adds. Diana’s business has been thriving and she hope to expand it when the economy fully opens. 

We thank you for making this possible.

Dec 15, 2020

Thomas' Journey

Thomas
Thomas

Thank you for all your support and the amazing help you are giving children like Thomas.

From the Kiandutu Slum in Thika, Kenya....

Thomas* experienced a sad start and didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy his early childhood. When he turned 3 months, his parents separated causing his mother to have to struggle raising him all by herself. Life was a real struggle since his mother only depended on casual jobs that were occasional and paid little money to enable her buy food and pay house rent as well. Living in the Kiandutu slums was characterized by a lack of food, poor living conditions and unemployment that sunk them into the cage of poverty.

When Macheo first identified Thomas, he was 16 months old and weighed just 13 pounds. He fell sick so often because his body did not have the same ability to fight off infection as a well-nourished child’s body would do. Thomas was not yet dewormed, he had little appetite, which only intensified his condition and the complications he was experiencing. He was then enrolled in the malnourishment program, which provided Thomas with nutritional supplements and intensive follow-up to help strengthen his diet that contained nutritionally dense foods. He was also dewormed and provided the care and support he needed to grow as a well-adjusted child. 

Thomas’ mother was also educated about proper nutrition and feeding practices for children, as well as warning signs of malnutrition from training offered by Macheo before the corona pandemic started. She also became trained on proper parenting, hygiene and cleanliness. To reinforce her ability to provide for her family, Macheo enrolled her into the cash transfer program. Through the support, she has started a grocery stall and can now have a stable income. Thomas is now well adjusted and enjoys a happy childhood.

What Macheo is doing to change the environment that childen like Thomas will experience

Even before COVID-19 became a global pandemic threatening the health and well-being of the world, many children under 5 years of age suffered from wasting putting them at higher risk of death. For children who survive, wasting adversely affects children’s body growth, brain development, and later school performance. Malnourished children are the most at risk during this pandemic. First, they are at risk because of potential disruptions in the nutritional services that keep them alive. Secondly, under nutrition makes them more susceptible to infection. And finally, they are more vulnerable because they rely on parents for daily feeding, care and support. If caregivers are sick, quarantined or unable to secure nutritious and safe food and drinking water, children will suffer. 

Macheo has continued to offer nutritional support to children who were identified. Through this intervention; 

• We intensified our intervention to protect, promote and support optimal breastfeeding, age-appropriate complementary foods and feeding for infants and young children, and related maternal nutrition, using all opportunities to include key messages on COVID-19 symptoms, hygiene practices, and infection prevention and control measures. 

• We took safety precautions of the current nutrition programming to reduce potential of infection in undernourished children, their caretakers and staff by hand washing with soap, physical distancing and intensive messaging. This was so because the government still has restricted gathering of any kind. Macheo was forced to work with these children in their homes. 

• We Intensified efforts to strengthen the capacity of mothers and caregivers to detect and monitor their children’s nutritional status using low-literacy/numeracy tools including mid-upper arm circumference. 

• We also intensified pre-positioning (cash transfers for vulnerable families) to buy essential commodities like food for the prevention and treatment of children who were malnourished and routine medical checkups and supplies at national, community and health facility levels.

 
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