Plow on Baraka FarmWe often tell you about the ongoing efforts of our local partners to put your donations and support to impactful use in their communities through projects and services.  Today, we tell you of the context and challenges facing our partners every day. Today, Kenya is currently facing a drastic drought causing extreme damage to food security for the people of the country.  The drought has set off a series of chain reactions in the Kenyan food system and economic state.

For example, a surcharge has been introduced on a Kenyan food staple – maize – in response to the inability of the Kenyan maize market to meet the national demand for food.  For our partners in Kenya, in particular the Baraka Farm, this could forecast serious challenges and more unexpected costs on top of the direct problems caused by the drought.

Baraka Farm PlowLuckily, the commitment of Bread and Water for Africa and our partners to long-term planning and sustainability will ensure that, despite these setbacks, the Lewa Children’s Home, Kipkeino School, and the Baraka Farm will not face the same level of devastation to their food supply during these difficult times.  However, many others in Kenya are not so lucky.  This maize cost surcharge is merely a snapshot of a larger picture that includes universally heightened food prices, rapidly depleting grazing sources, and an anticipated rise in food insecurity, conflict, and diseases.

Kenya's Drought Causes Food CrisisRoughly 2.4 million Kenyans are currently at risk of severe food insecurity, according to the latest reports by the Famine Early Warning Systems network. In fact it seems to be the worst it has been for 20 years with increased malnutrition rates over 35 percent in some areas that are badly affected by the drought.

This food crisis is chiefly attributed to the high prices of foodstuffs and the poor rains this past season.  The situation is so desperate that Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki declared a national disaster on May 30 and has issued orders to “expedite the process of availing foodstuffs and other vital supplies.”  Unfortunately, this declaration has come too late for the Kenyan people, and the Consumer Federation of Kenya (COFEK) has sued the government on their behalf for failing to uphold their constitutional right, stated in Article 43, to “be free from hunger, and to have adequate food of acceptable quality”.

Jos, Baraka Farm Manager shows young plantingsCircumstances have become so extreme in Kenya that a government cannot uphold the right of its entire nation to FOOD or the fact that it has become so extreme that its people have SUED them for it!

As is the case with most financial crises, the poorest and most vulnerable populations of the country are hit the hardest.

The staple diet of most Kenyan families, particularly of poorer families, is unga, or maize flour. Given the high prices and subsequent astronomic transport costs, even this most basic of commodities has become unaffordable for these families.

To put this in perspective, imagine the hundreds of children that would today be faced with the grim reality of starvation without the services and home provided by Lewa Children’s Home, Kipkeino School, and the Baraka Farm.  Due to failed harvests and the death of livestock there is an increasing number of people, currently up to 40% of the population, that must seek food aid in order to get any nutrition.

Baraka FarmIn order to combat these issues, people are turning their attention toward finding long term solutions; the droughts are cyclic and won’t be disappearing in years to come.  Here at Bread and Water for Africa®, our hearts go out to those suffering under the difficult post-drought conditions in Kenya.  We thank our partners for their work, even in these challenging times, and we thank our loyal supporters here in the US!    We will be keeping our eyes on Kenya as the crisis progresses and will keep you all updated!

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