A GROUP OF WOMEN HAS ADAPTED TO THE NEW NORMAL OF COVID-19
Corona Virus disease has had a great impact in the entire world. According to WHO, the current infection as of end of May 2020, stands at 5.8M globally with 360,000 plus fatalities. The situation in Kenya is still uncertain as the cases continue rising. From lock-downs, curfews, border closures, closures of markets, places of worship, cessation of movement, and social distancing to enforcing hygiene measures, governments all over the world have put up measures to curb the spread of the virus.
These measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 has come with impacts on the livelihoods of citizens all over the world, especially the low-income earners. According to a survey released by the Treasury, 22% of Kenyans have not been able to pay their rent since April while 30% were not able to do so on time. The report further stated that people are now thinking about putting food on the table and less worried about other necessities.
In Narok County, Narok West Sub County, the situation is not different. The effects of the measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 such as the closure of open markets are felt by the community in Mara. After the markets were closed, 90% of the women have either lost or are experiencing a drastic fall in their income. However, as they say, tough times call for tough measures and that innovation is the mother of necessity. Emur Ewangan women, one of the groups supported by AAH-Kenya, through a project named ”Mara Community Livelihood Improvement project” funded by bread for the world, Germany have thought of how to navigate through this hard time of the pandemic by ensuring they have food on the table for their children who are now at home following the closure of schools.
The women in a fascinating move have turned their small village into an open-air market. Since they are only ten, they found it very easy to adapt to the government directive of social distancing. These women have put up small stands where they sell their stock to the villagers. This has ensured that at the end of the day someone has made a small income from the business.
Interestingly, the women say that during this pandemic period is when they are making a good profit of Kes 3,000 as they only move from their homes to the open-air market as compared to earlier profits of Kes 2,000. This is because the transport cost was involved as they were moving from one market place to another. This business strategy has enabled them to keep the activities of the group running like merry go round and table banking which is going on uninterrupted.
“For us, even though we are in challenging times, it is rather turning out to be a blessing in disguise. We said we can’t close our businesses and go back to the previous lifestyle of just sleeping at home. We decided to continue our small businesses in our village. Since there are no markets, the people in this village buy from us,” Nasuju Tiranoi