Poverty in Kenya: Causes, Effects, and the Ways You Can Help

Samuel’s family belongs to the Maasai tribe in Kenya, which has suffered a severe drought that has devastated the land. The Maasai tribe relies upon livestock for their nourishment and income, but very few of the animals have been able to survive due to lack of water. Samuel, age six, desperately wants to go to school and learn, but his parents can’t even afford to buy food, much less afford to send him to school. But with your help through Cross Catholic Outreach, Baraka Catholic Kindergarten can not only teach Samuel how to read and write, but also provide him with physical nourishment and spiritual sustenance for his soul.

Although the poverty rate in Kenya has fortunately decreased in recent years, the needs are still tremendous here for basic services and education. This East African country faces many challenges including health care, clean water, education, sanitation, and human rights. This is why Cross Catholic Outreach works with ministries and churches that serve the poor in Kenya to give students, like Samuel, a hopeful and faith-focused way out of poverty

Poverty Rate in Kenya

Sadly, in Kenya, there are approximately 16.4 million people living their daily lives below the poverty line, including Samuel’s family. Poverty in Kenya has been on the decline in the last decade due to its growing economy and more government investments in infrastructure and social needs. However, 46 percent of the nation’s population is still far too high of a percentage to be living below the poverty line because poverty impacts all aspects of daily life.

This is why we answer God’s calling to serve the poorest of the poor and transform the lives of the poor both materially and spiritually.

Causes of Poverty in Kenya

One of the biggest causes of poverty in this nation is the lack of education in Kenya. There isn’t enough funding for schools and too few youth mentors to guide young students. Another cause of poverty in Kenya is lack of good housing, which is why international aid in the form of home-building is beneficial.

Income inequality, the spread of HIV and AIDS, poor water sanitation, and lack of access to health care also contribute to the poverty rate in Kenya. Inequality in all forms, from child mortality to gender outcomes and governance all take a toll on Kenyans struggling to get by every day. Many of these factors are present in Samuel’s family, yet we continue to fight for them to help them rise above poverty.

How Poverty Affects Education in Kenya

Poverty impacts education in Kenya more than in many other places around the world. Children, like Samuel, need education to grow personally and help their families rise out of poverty. When families can educate their children and overcome poverty, the whole community and all of God’s children benefit.

We believe that all of God’s children deserve a quality education, regardless of where they live or what family they come from. Like faith in God, education brings hope for the future and a path for a better life.

Cross Catholic’s Work in Kenya

At Cross Catholic Outreach, we are working with the Congregation of Christian Brothers on the Nourishing Mind, Body & Soul Project at Brother Beausang Catholic School in Embul-bul, Kenya. On the outskirts of Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi, this school provides a valuable Catholic education for students who come from impoverished slums, as well as healthy meals and spiritual formation to prepare them for the future. Efforts like these can make a huge difference in the lives of young students, like Samuel.

Through this program, we also helped construct a building to accommodate more students at the school and transform it from a one-room community center program into something much more comprehensive. Without schools like the Brother Beausang Catholic School, these young Kenyan students would likely grow up under-educated, hungry, and without hope.

We’ve made great process with this poverty-fighting program for improved education in Kenya, but there is still much work to be done, and we need your help. Please consider contributing to our work for poverty and education in Kenya to give children the best possible chance at a better life so that they, in turn, can grow up to improve the nation of Kenya as a whole.

Related: Water for Life in Southern Kenya