By the close of 2019, 92 percent of the respondents in a research conducted by USIU Africa did not imagine that a crisis with dire consequences like COVID-19 would occur and out of the 8% (n=36) who thought it was probable, 98 percent had not prepared for it.
In other words, Covid-19 caught at least 98 percent of Kenyans being unprepared, especially financially to face the pandemic. The impact is now hitting hard on thousands of households who are being left penniless as funds dry out.
According to the research, 30 days after the announcement of the first COVID-19 case in Kenya 22% of Kenyans have already borrowed money, 13 percent have lost jobs, 18 percent are spending the money they have (meant for other priorities including business).
A good number of Kenyans have already moved from urban to rural areas in the hope that life is bearable in the rural areas.
Overall average weekly income has decreased by 51.2 PERCENT (pre-crisis 2380 shillings to 1220 shillings during the crisis).
The decrease is consistent across both sexes but significantly differs on age (59 percent reduction for those exceeding 53 years).
According to the research, self-employed individuals have 56 percent of their income, those employed 45 percent and those who are employed and have other businesses 38 percent and the counties they reside (those in periurban counties have lost 64 percent.
“30 days after the announcement of the first case of COVID-19, 83 percent of the workers in our sample were yet to get any form of support,” Said USIU in a report.
Most of the support has been availed by the private sector (71%) with other support coming from not for profit organizations (12%), County governments (11%), religious organizations 7% and central government 2%.
The 17% who have received support are not equally distributed in the counties they reside (those in urban counties have received more support compared to their counterparts in peri-urban counties (13%) and rural counties (10%)).
Most of the support is in form of COVID-19 combat gear namely: sanitizer, face masks, soap, water basins (72%) and has been availed to men (53%) more than women (47%).
Additional support has been availed to 13% and 10% of the respondents in the form of prayers and counseling respectively. Support in the form of food and medicine has been availed to 6% of the respondents.
Given that most of the support is in the form of COVID-19 warfare measures (72%), have been availed by the private sector (71%) mostly to those who are employed (75%) we see self-seeking behavior amongst the people and institutions that are giving support.