The ongoing pandemic has and is continually opening our eyes to the already inescapable developmental and socio-economic crises all over the world. From the injustices women face to poor health systems, Covid-19 has shown us that now more than ever, we need to come together to see that the already vulnerable in the society don’t fall through the cracks of injustice.
We’ve already seen the high numbers of women coming out seeking support financially, emotionally and psychologically with all that they’re facing during these tough times. The resources and support available to them were already stretched to its limits even before the pandemic, and have been devastated even more now.
You and Me
Sometimes the best help comes from us as individuals. When the pandemic started, I saw an outburst of people helping each other online by sending money and job referrals to those who were hardest hit. One really good example is how Kenyans came together for the Bonga for Good initiative powered by Safaricom. The initiative saw customers use Bonga Points to pay for essential goods and services and customers could also donate their Bonga Points to those in need as a show of goodwill during this period.
We’ve also seen a couple of private entities coming together to help out in their own way. From giving funds directly to vulnerable communities, giving loans to small businesses who were struggling and donating foodstuffs, soap, water and sanitizers in informal settlements, the private sector has shown its hand in helping out during the pandemic and will be equally if not more beneficial in the long run.
NGOs and other respective partners
NGOs, donors and partners to these NGOs are some of the biggest supporters of the vulnerable in the society. They put in the work to go on the ground, collect real data and find ways of helping and alleviating the problems they see on a day-to-day basis. A prime example is the UN Women who have developed rapid and targeted response to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on women and girls and to ensure that the long-term recovery benefits them.
Above all, the county and national government should be at the forefront at making sure they put stringent efforts to seeing the short and long-term well-being of not just women and girls but the society at large. National governments have a mandate to respect and support women’s rights and must invest much more in gender-based violence prevention and response resources, including a skilled and empowered workforce of frontline service providers, creating systems that actually work and working with mutli-party stakeholders to ensure the rights and well-being of women are upheld.