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Sense International wins grant to support people with deafblindness affected by COVID-19 in Kenya

9 November 2020

Sense International has been awarded a £134,112 UK Aid Direct grant in response to the COVID-19 crisis to support people with deafblindness/ multi-sensory impairments (MSI), their families, and schools in Kenya.

The grant will provide food and medicine to people with deafblindness/MSI and their families, as well as providing hygiene facilities in schools, mental health support and accessible information on how to stay safe. It will help those living in the counties of Bomet, Kericho, Kisumu, Kwale, Mombasa and Nairobi, which have high rates of poverty and disability.

The effects of COVID-19 in Kenya have been wide-ranging and include: reduced access to health services and medication due to restrictions on movement; a lack of safety information in accessible formats; a loss of personal and communication support for people with deafblindness/MSI, including guides, interpreters and therapists, due to lockdown and social distancing guidelines.

Sense International Kenya’s program team on a recent visit to mainstream schools to identify their COVID-19 prevention needs.

The situation in Kenya has been exacerbated by a locust invasion affecting agriculture, a primary source of income and food supply, and ongoing flash floods.

Sense International ‘s programme in Kenya is providing information and support to change this thanks to the ‘Rapid Response Fund’ - a UK Government challenge fund that supports civil society organisations to be a force for good in the world. This supports charities preparedness, mitigation, and response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and is one of 33 approved to be delivered in 16 countries.

The programme will provide:

  • Food and medicine to 200 people with deafblindness and their families
  • Accessible hand washing facilities to 25 mainstream schools, impacting 120 learners with complex disabilities alongside 6,250 other students and 750 staff
  • Accessible information on how to stay safe, social distancing, symptoms and self-isolation for 300 families, including people with deafblindness
  • Mental health support for 90 families, enabling them to stay healthy and safe during the crisis

Alison Marshall, Director of Sense International, said: 

“We are delighted to receive this UK Aid Direct grant to respond directly to the impact of COVID-19 in Kenya. Our focus is on ensuring the safety of the people we support, their families and communities, as well as our staff and partners. This grant will ensure that people with deafblindness and their families receive the food and medicine, hygiene facilities, mental health support and accessible information that is crucial to enable them to stay healthy and safe during the Covid crisis.” 

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Minister Baroness Liz Sugg said:

“The UK is supporting vulnerable countries to build resilience and tackle the impact of COVID-19.

“This UK Aid Direct grant will make an important difference to the lives of people with deafblindness and their families in Kenya, ensuring that communities have the support they need to stay safe and healthy.” 

UK Aid Direct supports civil society organisations (CSOs) working in UK Government priority countries and the 50 lowest countries in the Human Development Index (HDI), where support for achieving the Global Goals is most needed.

Find out more information about Sense International Kenya.  

First published: Tuesday 18 June 2013
Last updated: Friday 6 December 2019