• COVID-19
  • 1 Jun 2020

In this extended edition of our COVID-19 Barometer, we assess the impact of the the first 8 weeks of the coronavirus crisis on the lives of young people across Kenya.

The headline findings of this week’s slightly expanded Barometer, put the impact of the last two months into stark focus. In an SMS poll this week, 95% of young people said they earned less than $3 last week – that’s up from 40% in our 2019 annual survey (p.3).

In the same poll, 74% said they went to bed hungry on at least one-night last week – just under half of those said they’ve gone to bed without food for more than 3 days (p.4). Put simply; most young Kenyans are now living in extreme and unsustainable poverty.


And as we all know, the ripple effects of a crisis like this one don’t stop at rising debt, or even at malnutrition. So many of the indicators we’ve all worked to improve in the last decade are being thrown into free-fall.

Young people who are hungry and running out of options, are incredibly vulnerable – to transactional sex, to turning to petty crime or even to radicalisation. And, as the threat of day-to-day hunger overtakes the fear of COVID-19, compliance with vital public health measures is falling too.

It’s a make or break moment – for the generation that will shape Kenya’s future.

But it’s easy to get lost in those ‘indicators’; to miss what’s really at stake in the decisions being taken over the next few weeks. It really is a make or break moment – for the the generation that will shape Kenya’s future.

Download the final edition of this series of our COVID-19 Barometer to learn more about the significance of this moment for young Kenyans – and our view on what can be done next. 


Read further insights from our team on how the lives of young people are being impacted by COVID-19

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