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Resilience in a Kenyan informal settlement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vertigans, Stephen; Mueller-Hirth, Natascha; Okinda, Fredrick


Fredrick Okinda


Informal settlements have been identified as locations both where the spread of COVID-19 has generally been slower than within the Global North and measures to restrain the pandemic have further intensified local peoples’ marginality as income decreases without welfare or financial safety nets. In this paper, qualitative fieldwork is detailed which commenced in Korogocho, an informal settlement in Nairobi, Kenya, immediately prior to national COVID-19 restrictions. This March 2020, pre-Covid phase of the fieldwork, focused on a community based project and the basis for resilience in transforming local lives. During the next 12 months of the pandemic fieldwork continued, exploring experiences and reactions to restraining policies. These findings reinforce concerns about the impact of COVID-19 related restrictions on marginalised peoples’ income, food security, health, safety and gender based violence. How the local people reacted to these effects highlights their creative resilience and adaptability. The paper concludes by examining the impact of, and responses to, the controlling measures on the social relationships and cohesion that underpins the community resilience.


VERTIGANS, S., MUELLER-HIRTH, N. and OKINDA, F. 2021. Resilience in a Kenyan informal settlement during the COVID-19 pandemic. Acta academica [online], 53(2): pandemic politics, pages 122-142. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 1, 2021
Online Publication Date Dec 14, 2021
Publication Date Dec 31, 2021
Deposit Date Sep 20, 2021
Publicly Available Date Sep 20, 2021
Journal Acta Academica
Print ISSN 0587-2405
Electronic ISSN 2415-0479
Publisher University of the Free State
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 53
Issue 2
Pages 122-142
Keywords COVID-19; Informal settlement; Kenya; Korogocho; Resilience
Public URL


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