Kenya

Working closely with two Affiliates HelpAge Kenya and the Kenya Society for People with AIDS and 35 local partners, our mission is to see that the needs and rights of older people in Kenya are recognised and addressed through policies, legislation and programmes.

Life story: Engolete, 57

Engolete, 57 and her granddaughter Engolete, 57, looks after seven grandchildren and also provides for her daughter who has recently given birth to a baby girl. (c) Joanne Hill/HelpAge International Engolete has been a widow for 15 years and has had many different jobs to make ends meet, but relies on broom-making for a living.

She has benefited from the Hunger Safety Net Programme (HPSN) in northern Kenya since 2008 and has used the cash transfer she’s received to send her seven grandchildren back to school, buy medication, food and also buy some goats to start livestock rearing.

The HSNP is a cash transfer programme that helps some of the 1.5 million Kenyans (5% of the population) who regularly face chronic food shortages and are dependent on emergency aid to meet their needs.

She said: “I want to raise goats because I’ll be able to milk them and sell the kids. I'll be happy if the grandchildren are raised well because of the help I've received. I want to bring them up so that they are independent and have work in the future.”

Supporting older people in Kenya:

Emergencies

  • In response to the east Africa crisis, we supported 46,000 people in Dadaab refugee camp and drought-affected areas of northern Kenya. In Dadaab, we worked with the United Nations Refugee Agency and Lutheran World Federation to alleviate the severe malnutrition of older people, and with Handicap International to provide mobility aids.
  • In drought-affected north-east Kenya, we provided older people with food vouchers, which enabled them to access basic necessities and water purification tablets.
  • We provided clean drinking supplies to 7,600 people and 400 older people and family members were supported to protect their houses and livelihoods should an environmental disaster strike again.

Healthcare

  • With our affiliate KESPA, we provided community training on HIV and AIDS and supported older people, orphans under their care and home-based carers in Siaya District in western Kenya.
  • This year 313 older people received HIV prevention education and 20 government service providers were trained in how HIV and AIDS impacts older people.
  • With our affiliate HelpAge Kenya and two other local partners we started a Peer Education Programme in Thika, Central Province. There are now over 390 older peer educators who have received HIV and AIDS training. They in turn share experiences, teach people and help people to cope with the disease.
  • This year, we set up medical camps for people living with HIV in rural areas in western Kenya. Medical resources including testing kits, qualified personnel and medicines were available and education sessions on prevention and nutrition were also provided at the medical camps. At one of the camps, 169 older people had a HIV test.
  • Working with our partners, we gave food and nutritional training to 2,750 older people and provided 496 older people with mobility aids.

Livelihoods

  • This year 930 older people have received a grant or loan (this indirectly benefited 249 orphans and vulnerable children from HIV-affected households). 219 older people were taught vocational skills and a further 1,916 older people received a cash grant.

Social protection

  • We provided training and an operations manual to the Kenyan government for an Older People’s Cash Transfer scheme.

Advocacy

  • Working with our affiliate HelpAge Kenya, our older citizen’s monitoring committees have campaigned for better health services for older people. As a result there has been an increase in access to health services by older people in Machakos District and Nairobi.
  • HelpAge Kenya participated in the Age Demands Action campaign. On the 1 October a delegation met the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs to fight for the rights of older people. The outcome was a commitment to work closely with HelpAge Kenya in curbing elder abuse and to sensitise the public on the rights of older people.

What next?

  • We will continue to offer grants and loans so that older people can rebuild their livelihoods and become more resilient if future natural disasters occur.
  • We will build the capacity of older people’s committees and encourage the formation of new ones so as to strengthen the voice of older people to challenge age discrimination.
  • We will continue to work with humanitarian organisations operating in Kenya, to make sure older people’s specific needs are included in emergency responses.
  • We will continue to make sure that older people are included in HIV and AIDS programmes, and improve the quality of health and care services for older people and those they support.

Our affiliates

HelpAge Kenya, Kenya Society for People with AIDS (KESPA), Age International

Our partners

Africa Platform for Social Protection (APSP), Rural Agency for Community Development and Assistance (RACIDA), District Pastoralists Association Wajir (DPAW), Pastoralist Integrated Support Programme (PISP), Anglican Church of Kenya, Mt. Kenya Region Christian Community Service, Ahero Joot Social Services (AJSS), Assumption Sisters of Nairobi (IAP), St Francis Asumbi HelpAge Program

Our donors

Academy for Educational Development, European Union, UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women), Big Lottery Fund, HelpAge International, National Aids Control Council, Age UK, American Jewish World Service (AJWS), Africa Women's Development Fund (AWDF), Australian Overseas Aid (AUSAID), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, BMZ - German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), CORDAID, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Comic Relief, Community Development Trust Fund (CTDF), Cooperative Housing Foundation (CHF), Danish Government - Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), Department for International Development (DFID), European Commission (EC), European Commission - Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF), Ford Foundation, Guernsey/Jersey (Island Donors), Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), Mensen met een Missie (People on a mission), Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD), NZ AID, New Zealand, Rocker Feller Foundation, Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), Stephen Lewis Foundation, United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs (UNOCHA), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), UNIFEM, United States Agency for International Development USAID (also through PEPFAR), World Food Programme (WFP), World Bank

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Striking facts

  • There are 1,688,000 older people in Kenya, making up 4.2% of the population.

  • More than half of those aged over 60 live in absolute poverty.

  • People aged 56 and above are the poorest age group in the country.

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Contact us

HelpAge International
East, West and Central Africa Regional Development Centre,
Off Lower Kabete Road,
Off Shanzu Road,
P.O. Box 14888-00800, Westlands,
Nairobi, Kenya

Email: maina@helpagekenya.org
Tel: +254 20 2637854
Mobile: +254 721 361 608 or +254 733 333 246