COMRED mobilise to respond to a shortage of face masks on Wasini Island in Kenya

Across the world, Blue Ventures has been mobilising to face the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis amongst the coastal communities that we work with. Whilst some of our team have been repatriated or are having to work from home, many of our field staff are still able to access field sites and provide vital support to the isolated communities with whom we work. 

The main objectives of our field teams are: to reduce community transmission of the virus; to protect the most vulnerable people; to strengthen healthcare systems and support continued delivery of essential services; and to adapt existing livelihood programmes to ensure that communities can sustain channels of income. More information on our response can be found here.

Like many countries across the world, Kenya has been hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis. As soon as the virus was categorised as a pandemic, the Kenyan government set up measures to limit it’s spread – 1.5 metre social distancing at all times, working from home for non-essential workers, a dusk to dawn (7pm – 5am) curfew, partial lockdown of some areas and the mandatory wearing of face masks in public places.

For some communities in Kenya, obtaining face masks is not easy; in some cases, this is due to the cost, which is now having to be balanced with reduced income opportunities and an increase in the price of other essential supplies. However, in others, it is simply due to a shortage.

COMRED, our partner organisation in Kenya, have been working to protect the most vulnerable communities and adapting to their changing needs since the pandemic began. As a result of travel restrictions, phone conversations have been vital in assessing needs and maintaining a connection with communities. Recently, a community member from Mkwiro village on Wasini Island (located about two kilometres off the Kenyan coast) reached out to us, expressing a real shortage of face masks. Subsequently, COMRED organised for the purchase and distribution of over 650 face masks to communities that needed them most.

Whilst we cannot predict how the pandemic will continue to evolve in Kenya and beyond, we feel reassured that our team and the teams of the partner organisations that we work with will continue to remain agile and adaptable, responding to the needs of communities and building their resilience to the impacts of the virus.

Working hard to make face masks | Photo: COMRED

 

Learn more about how COVID-19 has impacted fisheries in East Africa

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