Why community development in rural Kenya?

The world has never been so prosperous…yet nearly 1 billion people, trapped in abject poverty and gross inequality live on less than $1 per day. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest percentage (58%) of poor people in the world.
Millions of people work in insecure jobs and deteriorating conditions while millions more are unemployed and unable to feed their families in a world where there is enough money, resources and technology to end poverty forever.

Children and young people who make up half of Africa’s population continue to be denied access to education, health care, clean water and other basic services.

The poor are not only those with the lowest incomes but also those who are the most deprived of health, education, and other aspects of human well-being.
  • Poor mothers are more likely to die in childbirth
  • Children of poor families are more likely to be malnourished and are correspondingly more susceptible to an early death from childhood diseases
  • Poor children receive less education and some may receive none at all
  • Gender imbalances are more pronounced among the poor, excluding them from recognized development benefits and opportunities.
These characteristics, in turn, perpetuate income poverty. For the poor more than others, incomes are likely to be adversely affected by conflict, natural disasters and economic fluctuations, as well as the recent increases in food prices and the increasingly visible effects of global warming. Over all, most poor people are caught in a vicious circle.

Breaking this circle requires an array of simultaneous actions: a single intervention is unlikely to be sufficient.

People living in rural areas are suffering from the cumulative neglect of agriculture over the years, but are also disadvantaged because progress depends on government institutions, services and support, such as schools, health facilities, agricultural extension and physical infrastructure, as well as trade and interchange with others. Such facilities are usually less readily available in rural areas, and much of the rural population remains trapped in their own circle of poverty.

The hardship of rural life is encouraging migration to towns and cities, with the result that approximately half the world’s population is now living in urban areas. In 2005, slightly more than one third of the urban population in developing regions lived in slum conditions, with the associated problems of inadequate water and sanitation facilities, and lack of social infrastructure, including for health and education.

From: The United Nations Millennium Development Goals Report, 2008

All of this is true in rural Kenya and is the reason that we support community development there, within the structure and guidelines of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

Another reason we do it is because WE CAN!