We are in Action
We have been working around the clock to mobilize and educate our widow network around the threat of COVID-19, and promote best practices that will prevent or contain spread of the virus in the 20 villages where we work in Siaya County, Kenya. Since our response began in mid-March,RONA has reached over 3000 individuals with our COVID-19 Emergency Response. We have had 15 improvised handwashing stations distributed in public places, 1000 masks distributed and have distributed 1500 food packs.
Our approach relies on two integrated parts: direct interventions and home based care program through our RONA widow leaders and Community Action Teams (CAT) empowering the over 6000 members network. We have launched a 5month program to Alleviate Hunger to widowed housed holds, including Elderly Widows and Orphans in Rural Western Kenya.
Our Community-Based Response
Distribution of Food Packs
We delivered food packs to 250 widowed households, including 60 elderly widows with 780 orphans under their care across 20 villages in Siaya County. Our focus was on widow households living with orphans. Widow leaders, male champions and Rona volunteers are going door-to-door across the remote rural villages to raise awareness, distribute masks, improvised hand wash basins to selected crowded public places. We have trained 20 Widow care givers and 20 male champions and volunteers who continue to offer home based care.
Provision of Basic Medical Care to elderly widows
We responded to more than 120 emergency medical needs to elderly widows, and continue to respond and treat basic ailments through the Rona Centre. Our volunteers and widow leaders and care team respond to the medical needs of the elderly widows on scheduled food delivery visits, and/or impromptu based on reported cases from the RONA extensive network.
Handwashing and Sanitation Campaigns
RONA has installed 15 handwashing stations across major entry points at Community centres and Chiefs Camp. We have also installed hand wash stations at our 2 satellite offices and the Rona Centre in Siaya County. These stations have been used many times.
Girls Mentorship and Distribution of Sanitary towels
We have distributed more than 300 boxes of sanitary towels to rural school going girls. We have also held 60 mentorship sessions for 200 girls in Uhendo and Wagoma village in Siaya County.
Boy Mentorship and Rona Football Club
As schools remained closed, we kept the school going boys engaged through the Rona Footbal club, where the played matches, and through that we invited male mentors to talk to them. We have over 56 boys from age 3-18 all engaged in Team Rona to date.
Food and upkeep for Rona Centre
We have stalked dry food for the 27 resident children at the Rona Centre to avoid the scarcity, fluctuating food prices and to manage the lock downs. We stalked Rice – 5 bags of 25kg, maize -10 bags of 40kg, Sugar -5 bags of 20kg, Cooking oil -100 ltrs, Beans – 4 bags of 20kg, Lentils – 4 bags of 20kg, as well as other nonperishable foodstuffs like salt and tea leaves.
The Emergent Agency research project in a time of Covid-19 aimed to gather and analyse case studies and experiences of rural widows and their collective agency, looking for patterns and opportunities. It aimed to understand the important and potentially positive side effects of the pandemic and the response it triggered among widows in Siaya.
Research questions included:
- What examples of individual and collective agency are emerging?
- What is surprising and why?
- What potential do these examples have to upset patriarchal systems and contribute to new forms of power distribution and influence to change structures?
- How can these experiences reshape how the state, donors and NGOs [?] understand needs, vulnerabilities and agencies?
Our findings were documented in multiple forms that included blogs, Interviews and writing stories, Photography/video stories as well as pod casts interviews. Links below:-
Widow Champion Interview: Kenya Africa – YouTube – Interview between Carolyn Moor (Founder of Modern Widows Club), Roseline Orwa (Rona Foundation Founder) and Mr. Francis Kooli (Police Commandant, Siaya County).