By Andrew Thuku.
When the first case of Covid-19 was reported in Kenya on 12, March2020, a lot of disruptions were experienced and they continued to escalate up to date when the reported cases stand at more than eight thousand. Such disruptions include the closer of schools from the lowest levels to the institutions of higher learning. Students were forced to return to their homes as schools turn to online learning methods while others are not learning at all. While such disruptions have negatively impacted on the lives of young people in the country, the pandemic has also shown the capacity and capability of the youth to contribute immensely through provision of solutions to curb the spread of the Pandemic in the country.
Kenya has a very youthful population, comprising of 75.1% below the age of 35 years which is 35.7 million Kenyans according to the 2019 census as reported by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS). Informed by this fact, the Government of Kenya has continually urged the young people to be on the fore front of fighting the Corona Virus to break the chain.
“There can be no development without long term peace and stability and there can be no peace and security without the rule of law and respect of Human Rights. “Kofi Annan
In response to the call by the Government, a group of Young Kenyans through the Interlink of Peace and Human Security (IPHS) formed the first #StudentsAgainstCorona hub in Kenya and initiated the Elimisha Mashinani Project. The project which began in May2020, aims at creating awareness concerning CoronaVirus, fighting misinformation, provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and provision of food hampers to vulnerable families. The project has been implemented in phases, currently at the third phase. IPHS Volunteers set up Sensitization posters in Maragua Town.
The first phase, the IPHS volunteers visited the Hawa Imani Children’s home which shelters 50 orphans, providing food stuff to last them a month and PPEs.In addition the phase saw the provision of food hampers to identified vulnerable families as well as a door to door sensitization in Kiriaini, Murang’a County.
The second phase of the project, carried out in June, 2020 targeted informal work force specifically the jua kali sector, the boda boda riders and the market vendors in Maragua, Murang’a County.
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The third phase of the project is prospected to take place in this month of July, targeting the Public Service Vehicles (PSV), both the operators and the passengers. The phase comes in a time when the Government partially lifted all the lockdown restrictions such as the cessation of intercounty movement. So far the initiative has directly impacted over one thousand residents in Murang’a County.
This group of young Kenyans, is a demonstration of the many constructive contributions young people in Kenya are making despite being highly affected by the pandemic through education and learning disruptions, unemployment, economic hardships, mental illness, indulgent in crime, early pregnancies just to mention a few.
Despite relaxation of some restrictions by Government, the uncertainties caused by the pandemic especially among the young people continue to prowess themselves among young ambitious Kenyans placing them at a very vulnerable situation.
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