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

Islamic Relief has been working in Kenya since 1993, supporting orphans through the orphan sponsorship program to provide many of Kenya’s children with opportunities for a brighter future.

During the food crisis in 2011 in East Africa, we responded through the provision of clean water and food as well as providing essential medical support.

Current project:

Due to climate chage, droughts are becoming increasingly common. Islamic Relief is helping families to reduce the risk of a drought through livelihoods which can survive a lack of water, offering a long-term solution to hunger in the face of drought:

New crops – most farmers are pastoralists, relying on animals, which cannot survive without water. We will help them to plant crops and vegetables which can survive droughts.

New greenhouses – greenhouses are perfect for growing vegetables in areas without rivers, where water comes from wells and can be transported to the greenhouse. Not only will this help feed Kenyan families, but the surplus vegetables can be sold at the market as a source of income

Protecting livestock from disease – we will vaccinate 360,000 animals against diseases which break out when drought or floods weaken their immune systems, helping them survive future disasters, and help farmers monitor their livestock for illness

New jobs – farming is not the only way to make a living in Kenya – crafts and other items can be produced to sell at the market. These businesses don’t rely on rainfall to survive, so are perfect for drought-stricken Kenya; we will train women and young people in these skills and give them financial support to kick-start their new businesses.

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