Things Are Elephant: The Effect of COVID-19 in Nairobi Low-Income Areas

The containment measures implemented by both the national government, coupled up by the Nairobi Metropolitan area curfew, have rendered nearly 30% of low-income earners jobless, a report has revealed.

A recent report by TIFA shows that over 2.5 million low-income earners in Nairobi have had their source of livelihood interrupted because of the lockdown. This had led to an increase in the number of sexual disease infections.

TIFA Report

  1. The LockDown

The survey titled “Covid-19 Global Pandemic in Nairobi’s Low-Income Areas” was conducted in Kibera, Mukuru Kwa Njenga, Kwangware, Mathare and Huruma.

According to the report, about 60% of the people who have incurred significant losses say the government should lift the restriction so they can get back to their daily economic activities, even if it means getting the virus.

The report further reveals that 75% of the households could face starvation because of the disrupted source of livelihood.  So, many of the city dwellers are desperate to make end meets.

  1. Traffic Ban and Curfew

Social interactions and movement have also suffered a huge blow. Travel bans in and out of Nairobi and the implementation of the 7 PM to 5 AM curfew has affected over 66% of the city dwellers.  Most of them cannot travel upcountry to be with their families.

The report also notes that 57% of the low-income earners are anxious about the continuation of the travel ban and curfew in Nairobi, and they want the restriction to be lifted so they can resume their normal daily activities.

  1. Increased Crime Rate

Another reason why over 80% of the respondents want the restriction to be lifted is that they fear a spike in crime rates. They’re concerned that the city might revert to its grim state during the Nyayo era. An era where theft and daytime robbery was the norm.

Mama Mwaniki one of the respondents who own a vegetable stall says she closes her job as early as 4 PM every day because she fears the gangs of young men who troll the streets mugging and pick-pocketing citizens as soon as dusk approaches.

With the constant rise of COVID-19 cases and deaths, It’s no surprise that the majority of the citizens are skeptical if things will change.  Majority of the people fear to contract the virus.


It’s no secret. The COVID-19 crisis has affected both the social and economic life of most Nairobi citizens. Everybody has a different view on the lockdown and restriction placed and whether they’re effective at curbing this menace.

Most of the respondents had high hopes that the president would lift the night curfew and travel ban on June 6th, 2020. But the president only extended the deadlines for the lockdown and reduced the curfew period.  He also hinted at a policy to open up the country.

Only July 6th, 2020, the president addressed the nation, lifting the partial lockdown imposed for months. On July 7th, 2020 the cessation of movement in and out of Nairobi was removed but the night-time curfew remained in place for another 30 days.

This finally means that low-income earners in Nairobi can resume their economic activities. However, the Coronavirus is still at large and the things might never be normal for those people who incurred significant losses.

Many people hope that the policy implemented by the government will help them get back to their feet once again.


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