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Chamas for Change: gender-responsive and microfinance-based approach to empowering women and building resilience to health emergencies in Kenya

The COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to control it have threatened livelihoods, introduced new workplace risks and made unstable work relationships even more precarious, especially for women. This project will assess the impact of Chamas, a community health volunteer-led program that engages women in pregnancy and the first 1,000 days of their children’s lives, to determine whether participation in its programs mitigates the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on women’s and children’s health and economic well-being. Among these programs are health education, peer support and access to financial capital. 

Findings from the research in Trans-Nzoia County, Kenya will guide the scale-up of the Chamas program to improve the health and well-being of women and strengthen equitable recovery, gender-transformative policies and preparedness for future health emergencies. The expected results include an adapted or strengthened Chamas for Change program that promotes resilience and mitigates the negative health and economic effects of COVID-19 among women; strengthened social, financial and insurance policies and practices to better serve the needs of women during the pandemic and future health emergencies; and improved access to maternal, newborn and child health services.  
This project is funded under Women’s health and economic empowerment for a COVID-19 Recovery that is Inclusive, Sustainable and Equitable (Women RISE), an initiative of IDRC, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Its aim is to support global action-oriented, gender-transformative research by teams of researchers from low- and middle-income countries and Canada.

Project ID
Project Status
24 months
IDRC Officer
Montasser Kamal
Total Funding
CA$ 964,253.00
Women RISE
Global Health