LONDON, United Kingdom — Child poverty in Kenya is a significant challenge for the country as it grapples with issues of access to drinking water and health care, education opportunities and violence towards children, especially young girls. In Kenya, 1.2 million young children do not attend primary school despite the government’s attempts to enact a policy that will increase the rights of its youngest citizens, including the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Political corruption and abuse of positions of office continue to plague the country meaning that the burden of fighting child poverty in Kenya frequently falls on small charities and grassroots organizations.
Restart Africa is a charity based in Gilgil in the Nakuru County of Kenya. The charity provides a home for young people whose communities and families have abused or abandoned them, leaving them in poor conditions. The Borgen Project spoke with Benjamin Morgan, who began volunteering with Restart Africa in 2017 and now acts as its Fundraising Coordinator in the U.K., helping to maintain a regular stream of donors.
Morgan explained that the organization is coming to the end of its 14th year of grassroots action to support those living in extreme poverty in Kenya but claims that more needs to be done to raise awareness of the political situation in Kenya and the subsequent effects on its citizens.
Causes of Child Poverty in Kenya
Morgan attributes a lack of investment in key infrastructure and institutions as responsible for the way in which many young Kenyans are left on the fringes of society surviving off very little.
He told The Borgen Project: “Government corruption and wealth inequality remain as two strong opponents to ending poverty [in Kenya]. One only needs to look at the past two elections to see widespread mistrust in Kenya’s electoral practices.”
Historical Roots of Poverty
Political instability plagued Kenya throughout its history, stemming from British colonial rule and the lasting legacies of both colonialism and subsequent corrupt governments, Morgan explained. In 2021, Kenya ranked 128 out of 180 in the Corruption Perceptions Index suggesting that much progress is needed to establish democratic institutions which can meet the needs of Kenyan citizens.
Tackling Child Poverty in Kenya
Child Poverty in Kenya and Global Poverty
– Florence Jones
Photo: Gabriela Jones Restart Africa Volunteer