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Bringing Urgent Help to Kenya's Urban Slums

Bringing Urgent Help to Kenya's Urban Slums
Six-year-old Wilkister and her family live in the Mukuru slum of Nairobi, Kenya.

Many Kenyan families struggle to survive. With approximately half the country's population living in poverty, it is easy to assume that most of Kenya's poor live in rural areas. Although this is true to an extent, urban poverty is also a severe problem, particularly in the Kenya's slums.

Certain neighborhoods in Nairobi and other large cities are home to some of the country's poorest people, and conditions in these slums are incredibly harsh for the families that live there.

Urban Struggles

Located in Nairobi, Kibera is one of the biggest urban slums in Africa. The number of residents in Kibera is unclear, though estimates range from nearly 200,000 to as high as 2 million. One reason the population number is hard to pin down is its constant fluctuation; Kenyans from rural regions often move to Nairobi hoping to support themselves and their families. But little infrastructure and few opportunities hamper such goals, as rural Kenyans soon discover.

With several other large slums, including Mukuru kwa Njenga in the western portion of the Kenyan capital and the Mathare slum to the north, it is clear that many people living in Kenya's largest city dwell in extreme poverty.

Many families lack access to sanitation and health care, and food scarcity is a persistent problem. Poor waste management often results in the spread of preventable illnesses and waterborne bacteria. According to the African Population and Health Research Center in Nairobi, children living in urban slums face greater mortality rates than those living elsewhere.

One Family at a Time

ChildFund has worked in Kenya since 1960, and in recent years, progress has been made to improve the quality of life for families living in urban slums and other areas.

Expanding access to education is one of our primary goals in Kenya, and we work closely with local officials and other development organizations to improve the infrastructure of primary schools across the country, including providing equipment and other supplies to schools that need them most. We also support other programs designed to expand access to health care facilities and ensure that children have the vaccinations and medications they need to be healthy.

Clearly, there is much to be done in Kenya, but with your help, we can make a difference. Sponsoring a child in Kenya is one of the best ways you can help ChildFund provide food, health care and education to vulnerable children in Kenya, and offer them the hope of a brighter future.


ChildFund International has earned high ratings from Charity Navigator, the American Institute of Philanthropy and Charities Review Council.

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