Mapping a Pandemic: Kenya and Covid-19

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RUSI experts offer a deep dive into Kenya and Covid-19, the Security Sector and Programming focusing on Youth at risk of Recruitment and Radicalisation to VE groups.

The arrival of Covid-19 in Kenya has accentuated a range of security challenges in the country. Tackling a public health crisis on this scale requires healthy finances, clear government policy and a measured approach from security agencies.

In the first few months that the Covid-19 pandemic has spread to Kenya, some have argued that the threat of the virus has led to enhanced opportunities of criminal groups, gangs and VEOs such as al Shabaab to radicalise and recruit those who are vulnerable. It is assumed that the Covid-19 containment measures and their enforcement have severed many people’s access to income and continued to extend other grievances. There have also been fears over a rise in crime rates as those on a daily wage face increasingly difficult choices. With divisions between the authorities and civilians entrenched, there is potential for widespread public disorder.

This panel discussion will explore the implications of Covid-19 for Kenya’s threat environment, challenging several assumptions. Panellists drew on existing research and lessons learned from CVE programming targeted towards youth and the security sector. Challenges and successes experienced in implementing change amongst law enforcement agencies, social media-based work with youth will be outlined and potential opportunities for future programmes and research identified.


  • Gayatri Saghal, STRIVE II Research and M&E Manager, RUSI Nairobi
  • Galgallo Abagaro, STRIVE II Security Sector Project Manager, RUSI Nairobi
  • Christopher Hockey, Research Fellow, RUSI Nairobi

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