Vaccination against COVID-19 plays a vital role in keeping BOMA’s participants safe 

As a growing presence in Africa’s drylands, BOMA has a responsibility to protect the populations that we serve — especially amid a global pandemic. BOMA serves those experiencing extreme poverty, and our staff works with vulnerable populations daily. With this opportunity to serve comes a responsibility to protect, and BOMA is proud to have achieved a 98.3 percent staff vaccination rate. 

Members of Team BOMA travel to and interact with more than 15,000 participants in Africa’s drylands each month. In mandating the COVID-19 vaccine for staff, BOMA was driven by a duty to protect not only our team but the women, youth, and refugees that we empower. Alongside this new policy, staff were provided with educational opportunities on the vaccine and a forum to answer their questions or allay their concerns. Paid time off was also provided for vaccine appointments.  

BOMA’s more than 200 team members surpassed expectations, with the vast majority of our organization receiving COVID-19 vaccines soon after they became available. We were proud to see our team so motivated by BOMA’s mission and our responsibility to protect those we serve. A big factor in that success was BOMA team members like Barnabas Barmin, a Mentor Supervisor in Marsabit who went above and beyond to ensure that his team and community was protected.  

“For me, when the government was trying to mobilize people to get vaccinated there was no question,” Barmin said. “We are living in this world where there is a lot of sickness, and this vaccine is now free. I had to take it.” 

Barmin had lost family members to COVID-19 before a vaccine became available and, when one did, he worked to educate himself about it. As the leader of a team of 15 mentors, Barmin knew that he would also need to motivate and educate his team to protect the communities they served.  

“We are going into poor communities where people may know as much about COVID, but we are living in a town and working in an office,” Barmin explained. “As a BOMA employee I have to make sure that I’m protected so that I can protect our participants. I can also be an ambassador in these communities and tell people about the vaccine and my experience.” 

Barmin motivated his team through WhatsApp, and actively shared his own vaccine experience with them. He emphasized that protecting participants from COVID-19 was a team effort.  

“I wanted to make sure that they were at the forefront of getting vaccinated early,” he said. “Each day I was checking on them to see how they were feeling.”  

Barmin’s leadership epitomizes BOMA’s mission to protect the communities we serve through staff vaccination. BOMA has an incredible opportunity to serve some of the world’s most vulnerable populations and lift millions out of extreme poverty. In turn, BOMA will continue to hold itself to the highest standard to ensure their safety.