Kenya is a country of many contrasts, from its landscape to demographics, and more so its social and economic inequalities. It is one of the most unequal countries in the sub-Saharan region with 42 percent of its population of 44 million, living below the poverty line. Access to basic quality services such as health care, education, clean water and sanitation, is often a luxury for many people. Large segments of the population are highly vulnerable to climatic, economic and social shocks.
Prolonged drought in the country has additionally made things worse resulting in acute shortage of food and water with the 83 percent who live in arid and semi-arid regions highly affected. In June 2011, Kenya faced formidable hurdles with the Horn of Africa drought that left 3,75 million Kenyans and 200.000 refugees - mostly from Somalia and South Sudan - in need of humanitarian assistance.
In 2017, the Government declared drought a national disaster, with 23 of 47 counties affected. The number of food insecure people has more than doubled – from 1.3 million to 2.7 million. Three sub-counties report Global Acute Malnutrition rates of 30 per cent, double the emergency threshold. Severe drought has dried up water resources in half of Kenya’s 47 counties and an estimated 3 million people lack access to clean water. An estimated 2.9 million people required lifesaving medical interventions and community-based primary health outreach.
Johanniter has been active in Kenya since 2011 working on various humanitarian projects with different partners. The non-profit organisation has continued to offer its services to both locals and refugees in the wider Turkana West sub-county with Kakuma Refugee Camp and the Nasinyono community being its major beneficiaries.
The Kakuma General Hospital has benefited from stocking of medical equipment, medicine and placement of medical personnel. Johanniter runs monthly medical health outreaches at the orthopedic, ophthalmic and dental wings of the hospital and through its partner has been able to second staff at the aforementioned departments. The said health facility serves both locals and refugees where thousands of people have been assisted.
Besides provision of free healthcare services, Johanniter also works with its local partner in a Livelihood project in Nasinyono area where the locals are assisted to farm through flood irrigation. The livelihood project is a success story in an arid region and neighboring communities have even started emulating it with the Nasinyono community on the verge of being able to feed and sustain itself though a lot still needs to be done.
Johanniter stepped in with a cash transfer project that helped the community purchase foodstuff. In 2017, Nasinyono residents were given ‘Food for Work’ to help keep them working in the farm and it paid off since in December 2017 the community harvested several bags of millet from the community owned farm.
School Feeding Project for local primary schools in Turkana West where thousands of local children and street children are being offered food in school especially breakfast in the morning and evening dinner since mid-2017. This has contributed towards keeping the children in school and has also improved children enrolment in the schools.
In 2018, Johanniter intends to extend its wings and target the newly founded Kalobeyei Refugee Settlement with the primary health project. Besides that, Johanniter is planning on expanding the Nasinyono Livelihood project through adolescent girls via a component that is intended to bring in crops with different nutritional values and finally a fistula project in Kitui county of Eastern Kenya.