Almost half a century after gaining independence, tourism is one of Kenya’s largest sources of foreign exchange. But violence following Kenya’s general elections in late 2007 shook the industry while highlighting frustrations over the government’s indifference to people’s concerns.
Urbanisation: Kenya’s urban population is growing at a rate of approximately 6% each year. The majority of people in its cities live in informal settlements, or slums, with poor access to basic services like water and sanitation, schools and healthcare.
Drought and floods: while in the past Kenya experienced drought on average once every decade, the country has expericed severe drought during six of the last ten years. When the rains do come, they are often too heavy and destroy crops.
HIV: although more than 1.6 million Kenyans are living with HIV, stigma remains high meaning few people are willing to talk about the virus. This makes raising awareness about it difficult and prevents many from getting tested and accessing the care and support they need to protect themselves and others.
Our work with communities is supported by advocacy at national level to tackle the systems and structures that keep people poor. This ranges from making the case for greater inclusion of groups like pastoralists, who are often left out of decision making, to lobbying for laws that recognise the rights and needs of people living in informal settlements.
We are helping people improve their livehoods so they can live healthy and dignified lives; raising awareness of HIV and supporting people living with the virus; and helping people hold their own government to account by understanding and claiming their rights.
Recognising their expertise in water and sanitation provision, our partner Maji na Ufanisi is one of two organisations through which the Kenyan government will channel European Union funds to build 64 sanitation blocks across Nairobi’s informal settlements.
When the government released a supplementary budget for 2008-09, the Mars Group identified a discrepancy of 9.2 billion Kenyan shillings – more than £65 million – leading to the budget being amended. As a poor country, it’s critical that the government is held to account over how it spends money to ensure it delivers essential services like health and education.
When 18 months without rain left communities in northern Kenya fighting to survive, Northern Aid responded by providing water to 50,000 people, and by rehabilitating boreholes to support a further 70,000 pastoralists.
What you can do
• Help us continue our work in Kenya and around the world by donating.
• Help us eradicate poverty and injustice by taking action
• In June 2011, Christian Aid launched an emergency appeal for east Africa after drought and food shortages put 10 million people in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
• Matopeni diary: how clean water and new drains are transforming a slum community in Nairobi
• Mentoring orphans: Christian Aid partner BIDII is helping communities care for children affected by HIV (On the Christian Aid Youtube channel).
Share this article