Results around the world – Kenya
Despite having the largest economy in East Africa and an impressive recent economic growth record, Kenya ranks 146th out of 188 countries on the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) 2016 Human Development Index. Two out of five Kenyans still live on less than US$1.25 a day. Regional insecurity, cyclical drought, income inequalities, and high unemployment among the 75% of the population who are under 35 remain significant obstacles to sustainable social, environmental and economic development in Kenya.
Barriers to women’s empowerment continue to exist, with Kenya ranking 72nd out of 144th on the UNDP’s Gender Inequality Index. Although men and women are equal under the law, discriminatory practices and attitudes continue to prevent the enactment of laws in society and social change. Sexual and gender-based violence remains very high, transcending social and economic boundaries. There is a significant gender gap in education in the poor and remote parts of Kenya. Barriers to girls’ education in Kenya are numerous. Additionally, the main cause of death for women and children remains complications from pregnancy, HIV and several curable or preventable childhood diseases. Furthermore, women remain underrepresented as voters as well as in elected and appointed public offices. As a result of these structural deficiencies, women’s voice is still largely lacking at decision-making tables.
Canada’s development assistance in Kenya addresses these issues by focusing on the poorest and most vulnerable groups, particular women and girls, as well as children and youth in marginalized drought-prone regions. Funding supports the following four action areas:
- gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls
- human dignity, with a focus on access to quality basic and technical vocational education and training in a safe environment
- growth that works for everyone, with a focus on the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, access to finance, and women’s economic empowerment
- inclusive governance, with a focus on civic and political engagement and women’s political participation.
Through its education programming, Canada contributed to creating a safer environment for children in schools and increasing literacy rates in some of Kenya’s poorest areas in order to improve learning outcomes. Twenty five trainers and 354 teachers (64% of them women) completed trainings on learning through reading methodology, a strategy to effectively improve student literacy. As a result, students in schools supported by Canada-funded literacy programs achieved literacy scores on average 20% higher than in other schools. Libraries have also been established in 70 schools, with 172,133 books distributed, to improve literacy. More than 5,400 parents (68% of them women) and 350 teachers (61% of them women) were trained across 90 schools on gender equality, alternative discipline approaches, and detection and prevention of gender-based violence, which resulted in an increased reporting of cases of violence.
Canada’s support to MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates) enabled the organization to work in high-poverty, drought-prone and food-insecure locations to increase small enterprises’ profitability, competitiveness and access to finance in order to improve the equitable distribution of wealth in these areas. The project reached a total of 30,690 small entrepreneurs (53% of them women) in the agricultural, construction and natural resource management sectors.
Canada’s support to an International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) project addressed barriers to women and youth’s participation in Kenya’s presidential elections. The project contributed to an increase in the percentage of women who take part in elections, from 43% in 2013 to 46.7% in 2017. Similarly, an additional 5 million Kenyan youths took part in the 2017 general elections as a result of improved civic education materials and outreach.
Through the World Food Programme and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Canada provided food and non-food items responding to the needs of an estimated 500,000 refugees living in Kenya and of the host communities surrounding refugee camps.
Through support to College of the Rockies, Canada contributed to improving the health of 362,554 community members, 73,597 health facility clients, and 4,800 expectant mothers and newborns. From 2012 to 2017, training was provided for 218 community health volunteers, 50 nurses to oversee obstetric emergencies in rural health facilities, and 137 community health committee members to support health outreach.
As at March 31, 2018, through support to Digital Opportunity Trust, Canada equipped 1,055 young leaders (298 female and 757 male) with knowledge, skills and support to deliver economic empowerment and digital skills programming in their communities, reaching 41,072 youth and women in communities across Kenya, as well as in Ghana, Jordan, Rwanda and Tanzania.
Through support to the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, over 525 health workers (69.3% of them women) were trained on critical reproductive and maternal newborn and child health service delivery competencies, and outreach services reached over 48,600 people in Kenya, as well as in Pakistan and Mozambique.
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