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Kenya

With one of the most powerful economies in East Africa, Kenya has the means to reduce inequality and poverty and lead the region in the 21st century.

Kenya’s large economy and educated population bring great promise to the country. At the same time, Kenya faces significant challenges with inequality and poverty, particularly in the northern areas of the country, where people rely on raising livestock and are coping with climate change and drought. In urban areas, the poorest people struggle to find regular employment.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic and a locust invasion both dealt a heavy blow to Kenya, the economy started to bounce back in 2021. The war in Ukraine pushed up prices for many basic commodities like fuel, wheat, and fertilizer, all of which the country needs to import.

In 2022, severe drought across East Africa in combination with these other factors is endangering livestock and people in Kenya’s northern regions. Oxfam fights inequality in Kenya and envisions a transformed and more equal Kenyan society in which everyone, regardless of gender, religion, ethnicity, level of education or social standing, can access basic services and fully participate in decision-making processes on issues that affect their lives and that help Kenya reduce poverty.

What is Oxfam doing to help people in Kenya?

Since 1963, Oxfam and a wide range of organizations in Kenya have helped deliver short-term humanitarian assistance in emergencies, and long-term development programs to tackle the root causes of poverty and injustice.

HELPING PEOPLE IN KENYA SURVIVE IN THE SHORT TERM

HELPING PEOPLE IN KENYA THRIVE OVER THE LONG TERM

Advocating for accountable government and tax policy

Oxfam in Kenya supports citizen groups that push the government to fairly collect taxes and allocate resources to reduce inequality and poverty. We also help people gain the skills to analyze budgets to ensure resources are being used in ways that benefit all people in their community.

This will ultimately ensure that the citizens know how they are taxed, how their taxes are being spent, and can take the lead in influencing the government to provide public services that improve the quality of life in impoverished communities.

A woman in Wajir county, an area affected by drought and the loss of livestock, buys groceries with cash provided by Oxfam and the Kenya Cash Consortium.
A woman in Wajir county, an area affected by drought and the loss of livestock, buys groceries with cash provided by Oxfam and the Kenya Cash Consortium. Khadija Farah/Oxfam

Advancing the rights of women and gender justice

The goal of Oxfam’s gender justice work is to ensure that women gain power to participate in and benefit from public life. Oxfam in Kenya believes that the ability for women to gain agency is directly linked to empowerment: We are working with women’s rights organizations, national stakeholders, and partners in the following broad objectives:

  • Ending violence against women and girls, as well as abuse and stigmatization of survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
  • Ensuring that women gain agency to succeed and advance by influencing policies and practices that lead to sustained women’s economic empowerment and women’s economic justice.
  • Fostering increased capacities in women’s leadership, contributing to women’s meaningful representation and participation in politics and government.
  • Strengthening business skills in youth, enabling them to shape their lives while transforming unjust social, economic, and political systems.
  • Fostering the recognition of Unpaid Care and Domestic Work as a gender equality and development issue through policy reforms, influencing and advocacy efforts.

At the heart of what we do is support partners in tackling gender inequality and oppressive discriminatory practices that disadvantage women. We recognize that collective action is important for sustained realization of women’s rights, and a great approach to ending poverty and injustice for women and girls in Kenya.

Oxfam supports the Pastoralist Girls Initiative, which encourages young women to stay in school to learn about the environment, an essential means to understand the effects of climate change and how communities can adapt and survive.
Oxfam supports the Pastoralist Girls Initiative, which encourages young women to stay in school to learn about the environment, an essential means to understand the effects of climate change and how communities can adapt and survive. Madarakapics Photography

Protecting natural resources and rights

Kenya is endowed with oil and other natural resources, and Oxfam works with partners to help communities secure their rights to access, control, and own their land as well as make strategic decisions relating to their land and natural resources. This helps people conserve their land and resources, or if they decide to benefit from the wealth derived from their land, how to do so with their free, prior, and informed consent. We encourage policymakers to effectively implement accountable and transparent laws, policies, and regulations with proper consultation from affected communities.

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