47% of Kenyans experienced loss of employment after COVID-19 hit six months ago, a new study has found.
The TIFA poll found that measures taken to contain the spread of COVID-19 over the last seven months have resulted in job loss, loss of remittances, higher commodity prices, heightened insecurity, and disruption to health care services and education.
“Given the restrictions initially placed on movement in and out of this county as well as a night-time curfew, crowd-limitation and ‘social isolation’ measures, many people have found it difficult to ‘make ends meet’, especially those in the lower income areas captured in this survey,” the report reads.
Another 42% said their income from self employment or casual labour had significantly reduced.
23% said they had experienced reduced earnings from formal employment while 5% said their children’s education had been disrupted as a result of COVID-19.
More than nine-tenths (94%) of all respondents reported that compared to what they were earning prior to the COVID-19 pandemic they are now earning either “very little” or “nothing” of what they had been earning previously.
EVICTED FOR NOT PAYING RENT
The impacts were found to be more profound and longer-lasting amongst low income-earners in more congested urban areas.
Three-quarters of the 555 respondents also said they know someone or a family member evicted from their residence for nonpayment of rent.
The survey that was conducted between September 24 and October 2 however did not inquire as to where such evictees were now living, or whether this was a direct consequence of the loss of employment.
Other significant changes that respondents experienced include the need to mind children at home (4%); inability to pay rent (3%); need to feed children at home more (3%); loss of friends or damage to personal relationship (3%); unable to visit rural home/separation of family (2%); increased family tensions (2%) and self-restricted movement from residence (2%).
An earlier survey conducted in April had found that only 33% were working but the latest report found that the number has increased to 64% with respondents recording formal/self-employment or full- or part-time jobs.
ASSISTING THE NEEDY
In terms of assistance to the needy, 73% said they are aware of one or more measures put in place to assist the needy while 60% said they have received at least one type of assistance from either state or non-state actors/agencies.
The type of assistance included masks (20%), cash (17%) or relief food (15%): 20% were unaware of any such assistance.
Other measures of assistance that the respondents were aware of include free medical treatment (1%); free provision of water (2%); jobs for youth/’Kazi Mtaani” (7%) and free provision of soap/sanitizer/hand-washing (9%).
56% rated the government’s efforts as good or very good while 37% rated the State’s efforts as poor or very poor.
Consequences recorded as a result of lack of assistance to the needy include expectations that crime will increase (37%) and fear of death from hunger (20%).
Organizations known to have provided assistance to the needy include SHOFCO (45%); Red Cross (16%); Give Direct (11%); World Food Program (4%); Safaricom (3%); AMREF (2%); local politician (1%); Miss Koch Kenya (1%) and USAID (1%).
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