With the largest economy in eastern and central Africa, Kenya’s commercial capital Nairobi is a bustling economic hub. However, rural vulnerability to severe droughts has led to food and water shortages, meaning locals relying on livestock have become destitute and families are now left vulnerable to malnutrition. Our long-term livelihood projects are therefore working to help communities become resilient and secure, no matter what the weather.
Kenya is a densely populated country of 48 million people with great human capital. However, with around a third of the population living on less than $1.90 (£1.40) a day, increasingly common periods of drought, and increasing population growth, local communities are struggling. Responding to droughts, in particular, is becoming ever more challenging.
With conflict and the additional outbreak of disease, droughts are having a particularly devastating impact on local communities. Over a quarter of the economy are dependent on agriculture and the effect of poor rainy seasons on livestock and crops has been staggeringly high. A total of 3.4 million people have been left acutely food insecure, facing an uncertain future.
High levels of food insecurity, reduced pasture and water, limited fodder available and increased workloads for children and women are taking an immense toll on the local population. In fact, malnutrition is currently the biggest cause of death amongst children under the age of five – 369,000 of which suffer from acute malnutrition.
For people across Kenya, life is incredibly challenging:
- 11% of the population are unemployed (ILO, 2017)
- 1 in 20 children do not reach their 5th birthday (World Bank/UNICEF, 2016-17)
- 1 in 3 children suffer from stunting (UNICEF, 2013)
- Over 20% of adults are illiterate (UNESCO, 2014)
Islamic Relief in Kenya
Our response to the food crisis in Kenya and the Horn of Africa has enabled us to provide safe water, healthcare, food and nutrition for thousands of families in crisis. Over the long-term our livelihood and education programmes continue to improve the prospects of thousands of people’s lives. With climate-related and natural disasters threatening communities, we are helping local farmers become increasingly resilient to the effects of climate disasters such as drought and ensuring farmers can maintain a strong sustainable income without the need for financial assistance or emergency aid.
Our other work primarily focuses on the needs of the most vulnerable: children under five, pregnant women and nursing mothers. We have been on the ground since 1993, when Islamic Relief first initiated an orphan sponsorship programme to provide many of Kenya’s children with opportunities for a brighter future.