Poverty reduction - supporting orphans and vulnerable children
We are working with KUSARD (Kenya USA Christian Relief and Development) in Kenya to help support orphans and vulnerable children and to strengthen other community initiatives to reduce poverty. KUSARD's projects are mainly based in the districts of Kilungu and Mukaa in the southeastern part of Kenya, covering a population of about 2 million people. This region is semi-arid with poor soil fertility and low rainfall, making it a marginal agricultural area prone to food shortages and famine. KUSARD has been working for many years to improve the lives of the poor and vulnerable. Main program areas are: School feeding, HIV/AIDS prevention and control, access to water, environmental conservation, Kituiuni Health Center Program, Kyale Computer Training Center, Educational Fund for Needy Children, and Kituiuni Youth Polytechnic.
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The drought in Kenya, which began in 1999, has been the worst in the last 60 years, placing Kenya second only to Ethiopia on the list of worst affected countries in the region. Three successive seasons of poor rainfall in parts of Kenya have resulted in between 2 and 3 million people being at risk of starvation after 20 million cattle died and more than 70 percent of crops were lost.
The districts targeted by KUSARD have no electricity. Because refrigeration is not available, perishable food is consumed as soon as possible and leftover food is stored in pots to be consumed later. Basic amenities such as radios are rare and information still travels by word of mouth in these rural parts. Newspapers are non-existent, they are mainly found in major towns. Resources are scarce and used for essential things such as food, medicine or education.
Most families depend on spring and river water. But with prolonged periods of drought, the water sheds have become almost depleted and the springs are in danger of drying up. Frequently, animals share the same water resource resulting in added health risks for humans.
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