The effects of the ongoing COVID-19 virus have been dramatic, causing serious health problems, strict travelling restrictions and serious financial problems all over the world. As individuals, we cannot solve all the problems for all people, but we can at least try to reduce them for some of the people. The St. Georges Guilds of Norway (SGGN) have in earlier years supported a couple of scout building projects in Nyeri, Kenya.
During visits to Nairobi, we met scouts at the St. Johns Community Centre, located in the Pumwani slum. Former scout leader Astrid Hareide keeps a running contact with the Pumwani scouts, and coordinates a Norwegian support project, aiming at covering some of their needs for equipment, such as scout uniforms.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Kenya, very strict travelling restrictions were introduced that caused an abrupt stop for all the small-scale jobs upon which the economy of the people living in Pumwani depended. Astrid initiated an emergency project to provide immediate, short-term food aid to scouts and their families and challenged all her contacts to contribute financial support. The local scout leaders pack and distribute bags that contain staple food (maize meal, cooking oil, sugar and tea) for a family for one week.
The SGGN traditionally prefer supporting projects with concrete, more long-term effects, but realised that in the current situation, efforts with more immediate aims were clearly needed. We therefore informed all our members about the project and invited them to contribute. We do not at this stage know how long the lack of jobs will hit the people in Pumwani, but hopefully, less strict future travelling rules will increase the job possibilities. It is also hoped that the Kenyan authorities shall be able to provide some relief help, thereby reducing the need for foreign help. At the moment, however, we continue to invite our members to continue their contribution.