keyboard_arrow_leftWhere We Work

Snapshot of Kenya

510

mothers die from pregnancy related causes per 100,000 births

34%

of people live below the poverty line

37%

of people lack access to safe water

Kenya is a leader in its region, with the poverty rate steadily falling and living conditions improving for many Kenyans. But most communities depend on small-scale agriculture for their livelihoods, meaning drought and other serious weather events could plunge millions back into poverty. According the World Bank, the proportion of Kenyans living below the international poverty line (US$1.90 per day) has declined from 43.6 per cent in 2005/06 to 35.6 per cent in 2015/16.

Yet a lack of adequate medical care still affects many rural areas, and families are often forced to walk long distances to receive help. The spread of HIV/AIDS is a major concern; currently 1.5 million people in Kenya are living with HIV/AIDS—the fourth-largest epidemic in the word—and 28,000 die every year as a result of the disease.

Additionally, over one-quarter of women between the ages of 15 and 49 have been subjected to female genital mutilation—again, these figures are among the highest in the world—though the practice has significantly declined in recent years.

In the past decade, Kenya’s relationship with neighbouring Somalia has been fraught. In October 2011, Kenya’s military crossed the border to curb the threat of al-Shabaab, a Somali-based Islamist extremist group. However, the violence has spilled back across Kenya’s borders, as al-Shabaab launched reprisal attacks, including suicide bombings. In September 2013, terrorists laid siege to a Nairobi shopping mall. The attack was one of the worst in Kenya’s history, with at least 67 civilians and soldiers killed and more than 200 wounded. To this date, tension between the two countries continues to simmer.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s founding leader Jomo Kenyatta, won his second term in office in 2017 despite initial findings of irregularities, when the main opposition party boycotted the re-run election.

He was charged by the International Criminal Court in 2013 with crimes against humanity for his alleged role in stoking post-election riots and violence in 2007; the charges were eventually withdrawn for a lack of evidence. Under his leadership the economy has grown strongly but Kenya ranks very low on Transparency International’s corruption index and critics say he has not done enough to reform a culture of favouritism and bribery.

Joel Macharia

Letter from Compassion Kenya Director, Joel Macharia

Dear Sponsor, My name is Joel Macharia. I am the Compassion Kenya Country Director. I’m married to Sally and have three children. In my free time, I play soccer, indoor games, and read. Compassion International has been working in Kenya since 1980. We are in partnership with 372 local churches, serving more than 113,000 babies, children and youth. On behalf of all sponsored children in Kenya, thank you for your support and care.

open_in_new Read full letter

A Morning at Chemichemi Community Church

The mid-morning service at Chemichemi Community Church, situated in a slum community 16km northeast of Nairobi’s heart, is a lively affair that typically lasts about three hours, with Rev Dickson Munyasya presiding.

open_in_new Read more

Prayer requests for Kenya

  • Please pray for John, a registered boy at the Deliverance Church Olmoran Child Development Centre (KE0284). His family is currently homeless after their house was destroyed in a violent attack during a cattle-raiding incident. They are squatters now. Please pray that the local church will be able to help them find safe, stable accommodation; pray God will protect them and give them peace.
  • Pray that God would grant wisdom and discernment for youths registered with the program at MCK Lubunu Church Child Development Centre (KE0714). There has been an increase in teen pregnancies in their community; pray that God would equip the young people of the church and the program centre to make good decisions.
  • Stand with the Anglican Church of Kenya Kirimon who are praising God for His goodness! They have witnessed God’s faithfulness in the lives of the children and their families, the centre staff and in the entire community. Thank God for the healing, deliverance, providence and protection that He has accorded them.
  • Please pray for Blessing, whose mother recently passed away. Pray that this young girl and her family will find peace in their grief; that the church and the community will rally around them to give practical, spiritual and emotional support. Pray that Blessing will grow in faith as she leans on her Heavenly Father’s love.
  • Pray for Gashom and his family. His father recently went missing; he is the sole breadwinner of the family and no one knows what has happened to him. Pray that he will be found, safe and well. Pray for Gashom and his family as they try to meet their needs even while they’re looking for him.
  • Please pray for Julius, Daniel and Lydia as they embark on their journey as Compassion Kenya employees. Pray that they will learn quickly and settle strongly into their roles and that God would show them His will for their lives.
  • Pray for Kenya’s leaders and decision-makers. Pray for godly wisdom and that they would govern with compassion and wisdom, especially when it comes to decisions that will have an effect in the lives of children and families living in poverty.