Poverty in Kenya is on the decline. Between 2005-06 and 2015-16, the percentage of Kenyans living under the international poverty line (characterized in 2011 as US$1.90 per day) decreased from 46.8% to 36.1%. Kenyan poverty is currently decreasing by 1% yearly, a rate which is ahead of some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Still, the rate of poverty reduction in Kenya falls short of most nations in the lower-middle-income range.
The majority of impoverished Kenyans are in the rural, northeastern regions of the country. In Kenya, only 72% of homes possess viable drinking water. This is 4% above the average in the Sub-Sahara, but below countries like Ghana and Rwanda. In 2015 records showed 84% of Kenya’s population over 14 years of age were literate. This constitutes an 11% increase from Kenya’s 2005 literacy statistics.
While overall poverty in Kenya is decreasing, there is still much that people can do. Here are three of the many organizations creating change in Kenya and SSA more broadly:
The Boma Project
In its mission statement, The Boma Project states that it “empowers women in the drylands of Africa to establish sustainable livelihoods, build resilient families, graduate from extreme poverty and catalyze change in their rural communities.” The Boma Project creates triads of women and provides them with financial support in order to begin and grow their businesses. It also provides these women with two years of mentorship. Currently, 159,684 women and children have received support from The Boma Project.
Daate Inyakh of northern Kenya lives in an area with little access to water and often fought to feed herself and her six girls. In 2014, Inyakh began receiving help from The Boma Project. This gave her the opportunity through training and financial aid to start her own business. Inyakh’s triad is now in charge of their own shop and she is in the process of learning to read.
The Makuyu Education Initiative (MEI)
MEI is a very small nonprofit founded in 2011 that operates in Makuyu, Kenya. The organization provides children of the ultra-poor in this region with the opportunity to “escape the vicious cycle of poverty by fighting malnutrition and other obstacles that can deter them from reaching their full potential.” MEI provides a home for any children in the program, many of whom are orphans. It gives these children holistic support in education, health care and consistent meals. MEI relies on volunteers and donations in order to accomplish its important work.
African Childrens Haven
African Childrens Haven protects some of Kenya’s, Ethiopia’s and Tanzania’s most impoverished children and their families. Primarily, the organization takes care of orphaned children who lost their parents to HIV/AIDS. This organization’s work focuses on girls. African Childrens Haven supports these children by providing scholarships, regular meals and sexual education. It also works to prevent child marriage and sex trafficking. The organization provides its services to more than 700 children.
These three organizations are a few among many addressing the multifaceted reality of poverty in Kenya. Engagement and donation to causes like these provide anyone with a tangible avenue to help make a difference.
– Clara Collins