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The impact of COVID-19 on child development

The impact of Covid-19 has been felt across all sectors and spheres of life. The ever growing numbers of new cases and deaths have become overwhelming and staggering. Reports are showing that the elderly are bearing the brunt of the virus, and children seem to be less susceptible to the virus.

But that notwithstanding, children are still vulnerable to the impacts of Covid-19. The closure of schools, places of worship, cessation of movement and government lockdowns that prevent parents and caregivers from earning a living, have impacted negatively on child development. They all add up to the negative effects on children’s emotional, social and physical well-being.

In Kenya, the outbreak has had a great impact on children living in the most vulnerable and poor conditions.

Education:

The government provided the closure of schools as a measure to slow down the spread of the virus. This disruption is being felt by many children around the country and the world over. It is quite a shock for children’s social life and learning. Teaching has moved online, on an unprecedented scale which has not been subjected to test. This has impacted negatively on children living in informal settlements and far flung areas with no internet coverage.

Over and above, it is important to note that the interruption will have long-term consequences for the affected children and is likely to increase disparities.

School provides an environment to raise social skills, social awareness and increases a child’s ability.

Safety and protection of children:

Reports suggest that, the lockdowns measures have come with heightened risk of children witnessing or suffering violence and abuse. This is much so for children living in vulnerable and poor conditions. With schools closed, children no longer have the same access to teachers to report incidents at home. Moving learning online has also increased the risk of exposing children to inappropriate content and online predators.

Socio-Economic:

The various measures which have been taken to suppress the transmission of the virus have resulted in disruption of economic activities.  Economic hardship experienced by families as a result of the global economic downturn have impacted heavily on children well-being. A group of young mothers that Community Initiatives Agenda – CIA, works with, have reported on the numerous challenges they are facing in a bid to cater for their children. The young mothers depend on casual jobs such as laundry services and other domestic chores in people’s homes to earn and provide the basic needs for their children. With most people not allowing persons from outside into their homes, the young mothers have been rendered jobless. This means that they are not able to provide a child’s basic needs such as food, clothing and access to healthcare. On the other hand they are fearful of going out of their homes in case they contract the corona-virus.

As way of cushioning the young mothers and other vulnerable families, CIA has been providing food baskets to these families as well as equipping them with new skills they could rely on. CIA has also been in constant touch with the heads of the 3 public primary schools it supports in the remote villages of Kajiado County. Through its mobile library project, CIA is establishing mechanisms to reach children in these schools with learning materials.

You and I can make a difference by contributing a food basket at a cost of USD40. Other needs for the families include diapers, drugs and detergents. Please send your generous donation to:

Account name: Community Initiatives Agenda

Account No: 0102848421300

Bank: Standard Chartered

Branch: Langata

Swift code: SCBKENXXXX

Bank code: 02

Branch code: 073

 

 

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