2020 has been a tumultuous year for all but it has been especially so for vulnerable households living in extreme poverty. These families are those who are most at risk of separating from their children. People living in poverty were already suffering before the COVID-19 pandemic. Their situation has only worsened since.
As part of our efforts to tackle this crisis and ensure every child has a safe, loving home Hopeland is pleased to announce that in a joint fundraising effort with GiveDirectly we raised over $150,000 to fund a program which provides single female-led households in Kenya at risk of separation with direct cash payments.
This fundraising effort has had a positive impact on 606 Kenyan single female-led households. Additionally, these families have 2 or more children at home.
Families living in extreme poverty are impacted hugely by any change in financial situation. For example, losing a job due to the pandemic could make it much more likely that children end up in an orphanage than at home with their mother. This separation has a serious negative impact on that child that can last a lifetime.
Women who benefitted from the program were either part of an initiative to send cash transfers to vulnerable families that pre-existed the pandemic or they received cash directly as part of an outreach to households impacted by COVID-19.
In the main family strengthening program 284 households in the Bomet and Kilifi regions of Kenya received a payment of 55,000 KES ($503) in a lump sum. This money could be used in any way that was beneficial to the family – perhaps paying for food, housing repairs, school bills or other essential payments.
Additionally as part of a response effort to the COVID-19 pandemic another 343 Kenyan families received small payments of 3,000 KES ($28). COVID-19 lockdowns in Kenya were severe, leaving many with no source of income so this funding was desperately needed by households that were already financially vulnerable. The cash was transferred quickly and in recognition of COVID protocols. Some households received this payment more than once between May and November 2020 making a total of 812 transfers – equivalent to $22,898.
The households that were reached by these programs all had a single-female head of household, including 43% who were widowed, and 26% who were separated or divorced. 40.3% of the families had two children at home, 29.1% had three children, 15.2% had four children and 15.4% had five or more children at home to care for.
We know the extreme situation that many households in Kenya and around the world are finding themselves in. If you were vulnerable before the beginning of the pandemic there is no question that you continue to be today and that the situation is much worse. We are proud that we have been able to help these vulnerable families in this way and give them hope for the future.