While there is still so much to be done, Kenya has made significant strides towards eradicating poverty, and is even being referred to as the “Silicon Savannah“!
International Day for the Eradication of Poverty recently came and went on October 17th…
It got us thinking about where Kenya started, where it is currently, and most importantly, where it’s hopefully going in its battle against poverty.
Understanding Kenya’s Poverty Problem
Kenya has quite a diverse landscape, from busy cities to rural villages, and a population representing various ethnic groups and backgrounds. This diversity comes with complex challenges related to poverty. Historically, Kenya has struggled with high levels of income inequality, which has exacerbated poverty in certain regions. Most of the rural regions in Kenya (far from the cities with job opportunities and basic necessities) suffer the most.
According to data from the World Bank, Kenya’s poverty rate was around 36% in 2015. While this number might seem high, it’s important to acknowledge that Kenya has taken significant steps to address this issue.
Initiatives that Kenya has taken towards eradicating poverty:
- Vision 2030: Kenya’s Vision 2030 is a comprehensive development blueprint that outlines the country’s desire and strategies for transforming into a middle-income country.
- Social Safety Nets: The Kenyan government has also established “social safety nets” such as the Inua Jamii Cash Transfer Program. This initiative provides financial assistance to vulnerable and impoverished households, particularly the elderly, disabled, and orphaned children, to help them meet their basic needs.
- Financial Inclusion: Expanding access to financial services, such as banking and microfinance, has been a key strategy in reducing poverty. Mobile banking and digital payment systems have played a pivotal role in providing financial services to people in remote areas.
- Youth Empowerment: Youth unemployment is a significant concern in Kenya. To address this issue, the government has launched various programs aimed at empowering young people with the skills and resources they need to create sustainable livelihoods.
- Agriculture and Rural Development: The majority of Kenya’s population resides in rural areas and is engaged in agriculture. Enhancing agricultural productivity and improving the lives of small farmers have been vital in the fight against poverty.
Kenya’s progress in Eradicating Poverty
In recent years, the poverty rate has declined slightly, thanks to a combination of government policies and international support. Improved infrastructure, education, healthcare, and economic opportunities have contributed to this reduction as well.
Kenya’s GDP growth has also been impressive, fostering economic stability and job creation. Innovative solutions, such as M-Pesa, a mobile money transfer service, have enabled financial inclusion for millions of Kenyans.
These solutions promote economic activities even in remote areas, which most of our students are from!
While Kenya’s progress in eradicating poverty is commendable, several challenges remain. Income inequality, regional disparities, and the impact of climate change on agriculture are still major concerns.
Another major concern is that the change is not sustainable. Outside help from international charities are more or less putting a tiny Band-aid on a gaping wound.
The change really needs to sink all the way down to the mindset of the Kenyan people.
Kenya must continue to invest in education, healthcare, and infrastructure. Kenya must help the country at large get on board with the overall vision and help them see they can be part of the solution as well!
How Canopy Life is Getting Involved
Although what we do on a day-to-day basis at Canopy Life Academy is not necessarily geared directly towards alleviating extreme poverty, we believe we are helping build up a generation of Kenyan students who WILL!
We aspire for our students to become adults who innovate, become entrepreneurs, and create jobs for others.
We dream of a day where they take on challenges that others may turn a blind eye to.
We are working to build brave students who lead through compassion, and love for others and can see a vision of a healthier Kenya!