The Covid-19 experience in Africa was very different from the rest of the world. There was plenty of fear and worry especially because most African countries do not possess a well-developed healthcare system. The Kenyan government was quick to put up hefty measures to curb the spread and this included cessation of movement to and from major cities, a ban on group gatherings and an order to work from home.
The lockdown of major cities was announced a few hours in advance which gave people, including most of REC’s participants, ample time to leave for upcountry. This brought with it a number of challenges because majority of rural areas in Kenya lack electricity and have network connectivity issues. Communication with participants was therefore greatly compromised and we eventually temporarily stopped shooting the videos for 4 months.
We have however resumed shooting over the last two months but it still has its challenges because most of the participants in rural areas do not have the finances required to travel back to the city, a factor that is made worse by the increased transport costs and those that can afford transport are too scared of contracting covid-19. These conditions combined with the need to observe safety measures have forced ITF to drastically reduce the number of participants in the REC project.
On the other hand, REC labs 3 and 4 have been a new experience for the group. Something they have never done before and which they were initially curious and a bit skeptical about. By going through the sessions the participants have been able to learn a lot through sharing ideas and they have had much fun brining their ideas to life.