With over ten million confirmed cases worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic is a global health crisis affecting health systems, businesses, banking, infrastructures, tourism, education, transportation, social life etc. In response to the crisis, Kenya like other countries has established response mechanisms trying to stabilize the situation and deal with the consequences of COVID-19, including cessation of movements between counties. This has heavily impacted KTDA Foundation’s programmatic activities across the 16 tea-growing counties. The communities we serve are now faced with multiple challenges – from the risk of contracting the virus itself and its impact on overstretched health services, to the knock-on repercussions from containment measures on health, education and livelihoods systems.
However, at KTDA Foundation is adapting to respond to these new challenges – both in the immediate and longer-term – while ensuring that we continue to work towards improving the welfare of smallholder tea farmers in Kenya. The Foundation is engaged with various partners including Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) to establish the following COVID-19 response initiatives:
Promoting hygiene best practice through Behavior Change Communication
One of the most effective ways to combat the spread of COVID-19, and limit its impact on fragile health systems, is by building people’s knowledge and awareness. KTDA Foundation is promoting preventative action in communities, including practising good hygiene and physical distancing measures, in line with national government guidelines and recognized best practice.
The Foundation is supporting KTDA managed factories to use a range of channels to reach people with the information they need to stay healthy. These have been carried out through distribution of posters in local languages across the tea factories, buying centres, online platforms and through messaging on the local radio platforms and through public address systems across the catchment.
Provision of WASH supplies and Face Masks
We recognize that smallholder tea farmers do not have the luxury to stay at home due to the nature of their work and back in March at the onset of the pandemic, KTDA introduced a set of measures to support national efforts to help tackle the spread of Covid-19. These included; supporting the installation of handwashing facilities in all tea buying centres. Further to this, we have partnered with ETP to provide more than 100,000 re-usable facemasks to the tea community across 25 factories. In addition to the masks, soaps were also distributed at the tea buying centres to ensure proper hygiene is carried out while farmers continue with their day to day activities.