Response to COVID-19

Chapter: Kenya | Project range: Local | Year: 2020

Chapter details

About the chapter:
Founded in 1999 in Kenya, TI-Kenya is a not-for-profit organisation with the aim of developing a transparent and corruption-free society. TI-Kenya is one of the autonomous chapters of the global Transparency International movement. The organisation has 20 years’ experience in governance work at the national and county levels. These include direct engagement with the Government, the private sector, individuals and groups. TI-Kenya uses advocacy as its signature approach; this is complemented by other approaches such as partnerships’ development, research, capacity building and civic engagement, with the focus sectors comprising health, education, security (police), humanitarian aid, natural resource governance (climate governance, extractives and land).

CPI Score: 27

CPI Rank: 144

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Theory of Change


As of 26 June 2020, Kenya has 5384 cases confirmed, 1857 people have recovered, and there have been 132 deaths.

The government’s immediate action has focused on strengthening the health system. Other health policy measures include working from home, travel restrictions, night curfews, schools’ closures, and suspension of public gatherings, among others. This has come at an economic cost, particularly for informal sector workers and the self-employed, who have seen a massive reduction in their daily earnings. Many working in the formal sector have also been fired, offered unpaid leave or reduced salaries. This could have a negative impact on food security, as well as physical and mental health.

As part of the response, the government has mobilised local donations through the Emergency Response Fund, and as of April, the fund had raised KES 1 billion ($94 million). On May 20, 2020 Kenya received $1 billion from the World Bank to address COVID-19. In addition, the IMF approved the disbursement of US$739 million to be drawn under the Rapid Credit Facility to support the government of Kenya response to the COVID-19 pandemic on 6th May 2020.

However, there have been some concerns about the lack of transparency, fraud allegations, and mismanagement of funds. In May, there was public outrage over a controversial report presented by Health Secretary Mutahi Kagwe to parliament, which provided a breakdown of how almost 1.3 billion Kenyan shillings were used to tackle COVID-19. The procurement and lease of some items caused public outrage. For instance, the report stated leasing 15 ambulances, instead of just purchasing new ambulances or using the existing fleet; and 2 million shillings allocated for mobile phone airtime, when telecommunications Safaricom had offered officials involved in the COVID response a free package; among other cases.


  1. Together with other national civil society organisations, TI Kenya drafted a memorandum and submitted to the Government of Kenya with various issues concerning COVID-19 including procurement transparency, corruption, budgets and human rights
  2. TI Kenya has taken part in television interviews focusing on the need for transparent procurement and strengthened anti-corruption mechanisms in the health sector
  3. Online webinar-based training for journalists and CSOs on procurement corruption, data use, open contracting and COVID-19
  4. Tracking incoming aid funds and pushing for Government of Kenya to ensure external relief funds are spent in an accountable and transparent manner
  5. Advocacy on social media for COVID-19 Aid Transparency and featured in Newspapers articles on procurement transparency