Can you imagine being so hungry that you faint? That is what is happening in primary schools in Kenya where Anglican Overseas Aid’s partner, the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK), is working with communities who are undergoing severe and continuing drought.
One of the people in this community is Consolata. She is a wife and mother who is struggling to feed herself and her young family. She has a garden to grow vegetables, passionfruit and pumpkin, which all grow well when the rains come. But in this part of Kenya, the rains have not arrived for the last two and a half years.
While most of us prepare to feast this Christmas, an estimated 4.1 million people in Kenya urgently require access to food and water.
Predictions are that the October – December 2022 rains will also fail to come. In September 2021, the then Kenyan president declared drought a national disaster and called for a humanitarian response. The situation worsened this year with massive loss of livestock and livelihoods, especially in the 22 most affected counties.
Although the region where Consolata lives is between two water towers, most of the rivers have dried up and vast parts of the region lie in arid and semi-arid areas. She says that “the drought is affecting our gardening. We only have two rivers that are now dry for most of the year.”
As communities mainly depend on rainfed agriculture, it is a dire situation indeed, and with the last five seasons recording no harvest, the nutrition of community members has significantly deteriorated.
Consolata’s family is just one that is facing this enormous struggle. Nearly a million children aged between six months and five years are acutely malnourished. School teachers are reporting a significant drop in student attendance, as well as cases of children fainting in schools due to hunger and malnutrition.
With Anglican Overseas Aid’s support, the Anglican Church of Kenya is running a school feeding program. The program is working with 77 schools in the area, providing a nutritious porridge with a combination of high-protein grains for a three-month period from November 2022 to February 2023. This is helping children to become well-nourished again, so they can continue to attend school.
Parents are supporting the program by contributing a small fee to pay the cook and buy firewood.
The Anglican Church of Kenya is also working with 900 of the most vulnerable families in the region to provide rice, green beans, porridge flour and cooking oil.
In these months around Christmas, they will also be following up with families to start small income-generating activities, ranging from Indigenous poultry keeping to beekeeping.
Anglican Overseas Aid seeks to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a broken world, recognising the face of Christ in Kenyans during this time of drought. We are working for a world where all people can live with their God-given dignity restored, so mothers like Consolata can feed their children.
You can donate to Anglican Overseas Aid’s ‘Kenya Hunger Crisis’ Christmas Appeal by visiting the AOA website (choose “01a. Kenya Hunger Crisis Appeal” from the “Donation” drop-down menu), calling 1800 249 880 or sending a cheque made payable to Anglican Overseas Aid to:
Anglican Overseas Aid
PO Box 389
Abbotsford, VIC 3067