Kenya Life

Kenya, with its population of 39 million, is located in east Africa and borders the Indian Ocean to its south-east, Somalia to its north-east, Ethiopia to its north, South Sudan to its north-west, Uganda to its west and Tanzania to its south.

Like so many other African nations after independence, Kenya was subject to one party rule until multi-party elections were established in the 1990s, however its ethnic diversity continues to overshadow politics and the country's wider stability with, as recently as 2010, a new constitution being adopted. Although a popular tourist destination, life in Kenya is dogged by poverty

for the majority, high unemployment and a rising crime rate. Life expectancy in Kenya is currently 56.5yrs. This is something of an anomaly given that Kenya has a well developed economy by African standards, however, as ever, it is the 79% of the population who live in rural areas that suffer the most.

Most of this group are reliant on impoverished subsistence farming that, coupled with poor health care resources (one doctor for every 10,000 people), drives many into further poverty as income drops when the family earner becomes ill when suffering from HIV (6.3% of the population), water borne diseases and malaria. Another factor for the rising levels of poverty in Kenya is the tripling of the population in just 30 years placing an unsustainable burden on available land and already poor resources such as water supply (52% of the rural population) and improved sanitation (32% of the rural population.)

This compounded by the worst drought conditions for sixty years which are sweeping across the Horn of Africa from Djibouti where thousands of animals are dying and Nomads driven from their lands, across Somalia and into eastern Kenya and such droughts look as though they are here to stay for the foreseeable future, not least because of rapid deforestation and poor land management and farming techniques.

Today Kenya is classified as a water scarce country with only 52% of the rural population having access to safe water. Others, mainly women and children, often have to walk 3-4 hours a day to collect unsafe water from shallow wells, taking them away from other domestic duties and/or education. (In the hardest hit areas water is some 12-19 miles away.) The situation for those living in urban situations is not much better with water being expensive and sanitation poor. In slums such as Kibera in Nairobi water costs three shillings for each 20 litres ~ just over 2p, but a lot when half of the population of Kenya live on less than 60p a day and be mindful that the average person in England and Wales uses 150 litres of water a day, that's per person, not per family and the average family size in Kenya is five.


Kenya Life

Kenya Life

Kenya Life

Kenya Life


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Kenya Life

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Kenya Life

Kenya Life

The water situation is becoming steadily worse with some areas seeing poor rainfall over three seasons, killing stock and forcing others to congregate around water areas, leading to a rise in the spread of livestock diseases, compounding the problem further.

This pattern is causing a food shortage with many, particularly in the north of the country, facing severe food insecurity with an estimated 2.4 million in Kenya short of food.

Communities in the north-east of Kenya are bracing themselves for worse to come, with predicted rainfalls being less than 50% of the seasonal average; an average already lowered by recent seasons. This will undoubtedly place more Kenyan families at risk of malnutrition, and particularly affect children as their milk supplies dries up when the herds die out.

This video documentary explores the water supply situation in Kenya and its impact on the life of people there affected by the shortages whilst below you can explore life in Kibera in Kenya and Kenya village life.

Human Development Index Kenya

Human Development Index for Kenya 1980 - Present

The HDI (Human Development Index) is measured by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) and the World Bank and is based upon the life expectancy, literacy, access to knowledge and living standards of a country.

Kenya is in 145th place out of 186 countries and territories in 2013 and the chart above shows how levels of poverty and living standards inside Kenya whilst above sub-Saharan standards are well below world standards.



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