Our work in Kenya

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Our work in Kenya

Concern has worked in Kenya since 2002. We currently work in rural Marsabit County in the north of Kenya, and in the informal settlements or slums of Nairobi.

While originally urban-based, our work in Kenya has now expanded into a multi-sectoral programme focusing on urban and rural livelihoods, primary education, HIV and AIDS, water and sanitation, and health and nutrition in both Nairobi and Marsabit. In partnership with local organisations, Concern also responds to a number of emergencies in Kenya resulting from floods, drought and violence.

All of our work is underpinned by community empowerment, advocacy and governance initiatives.

2017 drought crisis

Six year old Bilach Dabelo, her mother Robe and baby Isacko are attending Basbalesa Health Centre for health and hygiene education supported by Concern in Marsabit, Kenya. Photo: Jennifer Nolan / Concern Worldwide.

The situation in Marsabit where Concern works is serious. We have launched an emergency response there focusing on cash transfers, provision of water and health and nutrition services. We are providing Aquatabs to 7,500 families so that they can purify available water so that it is safe to drink. Additionally, 1,443 families will receive regular cash payments from Concern over the next three months in Dukana ward so they can buy the food, medicine, or other goods that they need.

Urban programme

Concern is working with the poorest and most vulnerable people living in the informal settlements – or slums – of Nairobi. 

We are supporting health, nutrition and schools in the area, with the goal of improving access to health care and education. A key achievement in recent years has been the publication of government-approved guidelines for the regulation of informal schools, developed in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders. This document is a vital first step towards securing quality, free primary education for over 100,000 vulnerable children in Nairobi’s informal settlements.

In addition, Concern is supporting specific targeted individuals with cash transfers to help them start enterprises and graduate out of poverty. Read more

A series of cash grants and livelihood skills training provided by Concern enabled Maureen Aoko to kick-start and grow her own small business in Korogocho, Nairobi’s poorest slum. Photography: Abbie Trayler-Smith/Panos Pictures for Concern Worldwide.

Treating malnutrition

Recently Concern developed the SURGE model to support health services in preparing for an emergency and treating cases of malnutrition in Marsabit. The programme delivers phased supports to health clinics depending on the number of malnourished children coming for treatment, so that the clinics do not become overwhelmed during peak times. It also strengthens the health systems to better treat malnutrition so that support will hopefully not be needed in the future. The initial pilot programme has proved so successful that the model has been adopted by the Government and scaled up in a further nine counties.

Community engagement

A core focus of our work in Marsabit County is facilitating ‘Community Conversations’ which empower citizens to get involved in the governance and decision-making processes that affect their lives. 

In 2015, we worked with the communities and authorities to design a system for timely and effective citizen engagement in the county budgeting process with the support of EU funding. In total, 29 communities contributed to the process. Our work on Community Conversations has been so successful that the approach is being considered as a model for planning across Kenya. Read more

Ground-breaking data project

Internationally, the UN and other agencies have indicators that are used to define when a situation becomes an emergency – for example, when the percentage of malnourished children under five is over 15% of the population.

These indicators were developed based on rural populations where people live further apart. In urban, and particularly in slum areas, population densities are much higher and so by the time you reach these thresholds there are vast numbers of people suffering. With urbanisation increasing globally, Concern has decided to look at indicators specifically for urban populations that can help predict when an emergency is brewing and so we can respond earlier and prevent needless suffering.  This ground-breaking programme is proceeding well and it is hoped to extend to other major capitals in the coming months.

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