COVID-19 and Development Innovation

cattle market Samburu Kenya
Cattle market in Samburu, Kenya / Photo credit: Geyi Zheng, UC Davis

Our research partnerships reach across all sectors and communities, from donor agencies and governments to NGOs, private sector companies and individual families. These networks are also truly worldwide, from major city centers to the smallest rural areas. All of us are affected by COVID-19 even as we continue working to build a more resilient and inclusive future.

However, we worry in particular about interruptions to innovations that promise to put families onto a path to self-reliance. For example, in Samburu, Kenya the same social distancing policies being adopted worldwide have put the businesses and livelihoods of women taking part in our work at severe risk. Livestock markets have closed down. Our insurance company partner has pulled its agents from the field. Under these circumstances, any consequences we all face from economic contraction will not equal the long-term impacts for the women in Samburu sharing in our work.

These unprecedented times are testing the resilience of rural families and the food and market systems they rely on. The work we do has never been more important, and in spite of the challenges we all face, we will continue to make progress in building a more resilient future. 

Michael Carter
Director, MRR Innovation Lab

Tara Chiu
Associate Director, MRR Innovation Lab