Learning About the Need in Kisumu

Running Chicken focuses all of its efforts on creating sustainable development and entrepreneurial opportunity to the women and children of the Kisumu region of Kenya; but for those of us that have not had the pleasure of visiting Kenya, we may not know much about the people of this region, its beauty, and its needs.

Let’s start with Kenya, the country boasts a population of 39 million people, and Nairobi, the nation’s capital, is home to over 2.1 million people. The people of Kenya represent a mix of religions with Protestant (45%), Roman Catholic (33%), Muslim (10%), and a mix of other religions (12%). The county’s official languages are English and Kiswahili. Life expectancy at birth is 57 for females, and 58 for males, and the country is home to over 2.3 million registered orphans. 

Kisumu is the third largest city in Kenya and is located on the shores of Lake Victoria in western Kenya, in the Nyanza province. While no official census has been conducted in the Nyanza province for nearly 15 years, the population is estimated to be close to 1 million people. The people of Kisumu are predominantly Christian, with a strong Muslim minority. As the third largest city in Kenya, the poverty rate in Nyanza province lies at approximately 63% - the highest in Kenya. The area is home to over 600,000 of the country’s registered orphans. While poor, the region itself thrives with rich sugar and rice irrigation industries. – supplied to much of east Africa.

Unfortunately, the city has been unable to support its rapid population growth. Lack of access to clean water is an ongoing problem, and diseases such as cholera, dysentery, and typhoid cause numerous deaths each year. Lack of proper nutrition, malaria, and failing infrastructure are also prevalent issues. While education is free in Kenya, school uniforms are not, preventing thousands of children from attending school each year. HIV education continues to be extremely important.

The Impact of Giving
To provide a better understanding of how far your support can go, take a look at the small costs that can drastically improve the livelihood of the residents of Kisumu. 

$5 can buy:  a bed net (lasts five years) to prevent malaria.  Malaria is the leading cause of death for children in Kenya. Proper use of insecticide-treated bed nets is the most effective malaria prevention measure available at this time.

$10 can buy:  a book for the library at the home and resource center for vulnerable children.

$25 can buy:  a school uniform including shoes to ensure that the inability to pay this mandatory expense does not prevent a child from going to school

$50 can buy:  three months of medical care for all 14 residents of the home and resource center for vulnerable children

$100 can buy:  New pots, pans, plates, cups and utensils for the outreach feeding program that serves more than 600 students and children in the community

$200 can buy:  8 complete school uniforms, including shoes.  While primary education is free in Kenya, school uniforms are mandatory and present a prohibitive cost to families living in poverty.

$1000 can buy:  Six months of meals for more than 600 students.  For students at Dago Thim Primary school – many of whom walk more than 2km to and from school - this lunch is sometimes the only reliable meal of the day.

$15,000 can buy:  A year of operating expenses for the home and resource center for vulnerable children.  The current 14 residents and other at-risk children in the community visit the center for basic living, medical and educational resources. Meeting our goal ensures that the needs of these children are met.

Article by Catherine Leys, October 2012.  Needs list by Veronica Ensign, July 2012.

*Source - UNICEF and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) - http://www.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/contentassets/documents/unaidspublication/2011/20111130_UA_Report_en.pdf

*CIA World Factbook - https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/flags/flagtemplate_ke.html

*Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kisumu