In Kenya, the Population Council is conducting research in partnership with the Government, through its Presidential Policy and Strategy Unit, Executive Office of the President, and other partners and stakeholders, to understand the immediate and long-term effects of COVID-19 mitigation measures on social, health, economic, and education outcomes of marginalized populations, including adolescents and informal settlement communities. 

Council-generated data on COVID-19 in Kenya has been used to inform public messaging; to support policy action and the creation of national guidance by drawing attention to evolving needs; and to reinforce collaboration and information sharing with partners on the ground. Throughout this process, Council staff have participated in and provided regular updates to the MOH’s National Emergency Response Committee (NERC) through the Community Engagement Subcommittee, as well as the Executive Office of the President’s Policy and Strategy Unit.


Gendered Economic, Social and Health Effects of COVID-19 and Mitigation Policies in Kenya 

In BMC Open, Population Council researchers assessed the economic, social and health-related harm experienced by women living in five informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya. Results indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly and disproportionately impacted the lives of women, and that as Kenya reopens, policymakers must deploy assistance to ensure women in urban informal settlements are able to return to work, and get healthcare and services they need to not lose progress on gender equity made to date.

Pre-Pandemic Influences on Kenyan Girls’ Transitions to Adulthood During COVID-19

In the journal Berghahn, Council researchers call for immediate concerted support for adolescent girls, especially those living in informal settlements where girls settlements are facing high levels of food insecurity and challenges with remote learning due to COVID-19 control measures. Many are concerned that economic losses will cause school drop outs, increases in early marriage and childrearing and other outcomes that negatively affect their trajectories.


Watch a webinar sharing research findings and insights on the impact of COVID-19 on urban informal settlements of Kenya, featuring panelists from Kenya’s Executive Office of the President’s Policy and Strategy Unit, the Kenyan Ministry of Health, and Amref Health Africa. October 2020

Read the latest brief from our Kenya team, sharing findings on the social, health, education and economic effects of COVID-19 from surveys of adolescent girls from Kilifi, Nairobi, Wajir and Kisumu counties.

Read a piece in The Conversation from Council researchers Karen Austrian and Timothy Abuya, underscoring key findings and consequent recommendations from rapid phone-based surveys to collect information on knowledge, attitudes, practices and needs among 2,000 households in five Nairobi urban slums.

Read an article in Journal of Urban Health assessing the mobility patterns of residents in Nairobi’s urban informal settlements to better understand those most at risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 as well as necessary measures to mitigate spread while also allowing residents to maintain employment.