The effects of COVID-19 on young people in Kenya, their health livelihood and food systems.
Written by Paul Okondo
COVID- 19 pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human life worldwide and presents an unprecedented challenge to public health , food systems and the world of work , the economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic brought more problems to the people which can be said is devastating. This, made tens of people to be at risk of falling to poverty.
Informal economy workers are particularly vulnerable because the majority lack social protection and access to quality health care and have lost access to productive assets. Without the means to earn income during lockdown and curfew, many were an able to feed themselves and their families. For most no income, no job, less food, border closure, and trade restrictions from neighbouring countries this made many farmers to access market to sell their farm products due to confinement measure from accessing the market.
With low and irregular incomes and lack of social support, many of them were spurred to continue working, often in unsafe conditions thus exposing themselves and families at risk conditions, risk in working, risk in their transport, working and living conditions and struggle to access support measures put place by government.
People in schools also got affected by the harsh conditions and the spread of the disease , this made schools to close up for a very long period of time and it affected many people as they had to stay back at home and not study, this made some young people find alternative ways to provide for themselves and some of the methods were not entirely legal, some turned to drug addicts ,many young girls were targeted by older men and the region has experienced a higher number of pregnancies, by the time they were opening up schools they couldn’t go since they had become mothers.These have been identified as the leading causes of many young people not continuing their education or losing hope for what their futures may hold
Sustainable development goals. We need to develop long term sustainable strategies to address the challenge facing young peoples health and food sectors. By doing this we should give priority to addressing underlying food insecurity and malnutrition challenges, tackling rural poverty , in particular through creating more jobs to the unemployed and extending social protections to all.
We must rethink the future of our environment and tackle climate change and environment degradation with ambition and urgency. By doing this we can protect the health , livelihoods , food security and nutrition of all people , and ensure that our ‘new normal ‘ is a BETTER ONE.