Response to COVID-19

Chapter: Kenya | Project range: National | 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 over 20 years of experience in governance work at the national and county levels. This experience includes direct engagement with the government, the private sector, individuals and groups. TI-Kenya uses advocacy as its signature approach which is complemented by other strategies such as partnership development, research, capacity building and civic engagement. TI-Kenya's focus lies the health, education, security (police), humanitarian aid and natural resource governance (climate governance, extractives and land) sectors.

CPI Score: 27

CPI Rank: 144

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Theory of Change

Policy & Insititutional Change
Better Institutional Processes
Behaviour Change
Anti-Corruption Activism
Change Type:



The government’s immediate response focused on strengthening the health system. Public health policy measures included the enforcement of working from home, travel restrictions, night curfews, school closures, and the suspension of public gatherings among others. This has come at a high economic cost, particularly for informal sector workers and self-employed persons who have seen a massive decrease in their daily earnings. Employees working in formal employment have also been made redundant, offered unpaid leave or given reduced salaries. This could have a negative impact on food security as well as on 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 combat 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's response to the pandemic on 6th May 2020.

However, there have been some concerns surrounding the lack of transparency, fraud allegations, and mismanagement of funds. In May, a controversial report was presented to parliament by Health Secretary Mutahi Kagwe, which provided an overview on how the 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 that at 15 ambulances were leased instead of having purchased new ones or making use of the existing fleet; and that 2 million shillings were allocated for mobile phone airtime despite Safaricom having offered officials involved in the COVID response free usage; among other cases.


  1. Together with other national civil society organisations, TI Kenya drafted a memorandum and submitted it to the Government of Kenya listing 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
    Awareness raisingMedia campaign
  3. Online webinar-based training for journalists and CSOs on procurement corruption, data usage, open contracting and COVID-19
    Awareness raising
  4. Tracking incoming aid funds and pushing for Government of Kenya to ensure external relief funds are spent in an accountable and transparent manner
    AdvocacyMonitoring & evaluation
  5. Advocacy on social media for COVID-19 Aid Transparency and featured in newspaper articles concerning procurement transparency
    AdvocacyMedia campaign