We are all feeling a bit overwhelmed by developments in the world over the past two weeks. This is a brief update on what is happening to our program in Kenya and also to our team in the U.S.
Our objectives are:
- to keep our staff in both Kenya and the U.S. safe and healthy;
- to comply with public health recommendations and mandates in both countries; and
- to make decisions that enhance the likelihood the organizations will successfully weather this storm so we can continue to focus on our mission of educating students and transforming lives post-crisis.
It is important to note that the community we work with in Kenya is extremely vulnerable to the harm this situation will inflict on people. Most of the students’ parents and guardians have pre-existing health conditions such as HIV/Aids; they all have limited income, usually earned by performing casual labor that has already evaporated; and in the slums there is no such thing as “social distance”. You will note in our summary of the situation in Kenya that we have increased our budget for emergency food aid and believe it will be sorely needed in the coming weeks. If you would like to make a donation to support providing basic food packets to our families in Kenya, please click on the button below. A $30 gift can provide a food packet that feeds a family of four for several days.
- Several cases of COVID-19 have appeared in Kenya. The government of Kenya has taken aggressive action to prevent the virus from spreading in the country.
- Kenyan public health officials have mandated no gatherings of large numbers of people, they have closed all schools effective this week and require that employees work from home.
- We have formed a Crisis Management team for both Ngong Road Children’s Foundation and Karibu Loo Limited. The teams in Kenya meet daily and provide written updates to the U.S. Crisis Management Team, along with a global weekly touch-base meeting.
- Ngong Road Children’s Foundation will operate with a skeleton staff and will communicate with students and families through text messages, updates to our website and printed flyers.
- Case workers are available to students and families by telephone or by appointment in the office in the case of emergencies.
- Saturday Program, home visits, school visits are suspended during this crisis.
- We have cut staff hours, salaries and other expenses in an effort to preserve options as the crisis unfolds while also ensuring our staff has enough income to cover their essential needs.
- Karibu Loo business will also be curtailed as long as there are prohibitions on gatherings and social events. As with Ngong Road Children’s Foundation, we have reduced expenses to a minimum.
- We have significantly increased our budget for food aid for families, as we expect this crisis to result in significant food insecurity for our population.
In the United States:
- We have formed a Crisis Management Team consisting of Paula Meyer, Amy Johnson and Keith Kale; we meet daily.
- Our associates in the U.S. operate on a remote basis and will continue that practice. We have made no changes to staff compensation or hours, though changes made by day care providers are affecting several of our team members.
- Paula Meyer and other board members have increased the amount of time working on Friends of Ngong Road matters and we expect that to continue in the coming months as we work to navigate these unprecedented times. Our board of directors will meet this week and again in April to deliberate issues facing the organization.