About Kenya

Economy

Kenya’s gross national product has experienced above-average growth in recent decades in comparison to other African countries. Since the growth in population was also above-average, this has not resulted in any significant improvement in living conditions for most Kenyans.

Agriculture and fishing

Well over half of all Kenyans make a living from agriculture, yet only 20{511a4999f6ad55efab9c4f65b8007fac523dec59fee8848f04af929697f9a63d} of the land is arable. The rest is mostly fallow due to thin soil or insufficient rain, or mountainous. Besides coffee and tea, sisal and pyrethrum are also cultivated which serve as the basis of many insecticides.

The people also grow crops for their own use, such as corn, wheat, barley, sugar cane, beans, bananas, rice, pineapples and cotton.

Beef and dairy cows are the main types of cattle farming. The largest farms in Kenya’s highlands have developed to a high standard. Large numbers of cows, sheep, goats and even camel herds have to be fed on the scant offerings of the land.

Many forest areas are protected conservation sites. As a result, the bamboo forests used in the paper industry and the freely growing Acacia bark (used as a tanning agent) are now of lesser importance.

Political situation

Kenya has been independent since the December 12, 1963. The first president was Jomo Kenyatta
Since 2013 his grandson, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta is President. The elections were largely peaceful.
After the elections 2007/2008 there were several months of civil war like conditions, after the election victory of Mwai Kibaki has been challenged by his opponent Raila Odinga. Here, more than 1,000 people were killed and 600,000 Kenyans became refugees.
Kenya remains one of the most corrupt countries, and was listed in 2014 by the NGO Transparency International ranked position 145 of the 175 countries. Since operations of the Kenyan military in Somalia, it comes increasingly to terrorist attacks of the Al-Shabaab militia in Kenya.

Marinde Baobab Family e.V. - small Kids

Situation for children and women

Kenya has about 45.9 million inhabitants. 42{511a4999f6ad55efab9c4f65b8007fac523dec59fee8848f04af929697f9a63d} of them are under 15 years. Many of these children are malnourished, sick, neither go to school nor do they have a chance later to a professional. (Source DSW World Population Report 2003)
The Kenyan children’s department assumes that 40{511a4999f6ad55efab9c4f65b8007fac523dec59fee8848f04af929697f9a63d} of children do not have parents, or the parents neglect the child, or they are poor and so these children can not attend school, have to beg, or fall into bad company. (Office of the Vice President and Ministry of Home Affairs 2005)
Women often have the sole responsibility for the family, as are 6 out of 10 women when they are 45 years old single mother. Simultaneously, 3 out of 10 girls get pregnant before they are of age (see Daily Nation from 08/17/2013)
In some ethnic groups also disadvantaged women the right of inheritance massively, so the country’s family belongs to the man, and at his death his brothers. Thus many women lose their home. They then often have to hustle in slums of the big cities.

HIV and AIDS

It is alarming: Every year, in the poorest countries of the world ten million infants from diseases that are preventable – AIDS is just one of them. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development writes:
“The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has been known for more than 30 years and has spread to the entire world. Today an estimated 36.9 million people carry this virus. After a symptom-free period (a few months to many years), the HI viruses destroy the immune system and thereby lead to life-threatening infections and tumors. This disease is named AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, English for “acquired immunodeficiency syndrome”) and is not curable today. The onset of the disease, however, can be delayed for a long time by a combination therapy with various drugs and possibly even prevented entirely.

A majority of the people affected by HIV/AIDS live in developing countries, particularly many in the African sub-Saharan. There in 2014 approximately 25.8 million people were infected with HIV. The disease is not only a human, but also a social and economic catastrophe that threatens the sustainable development of these countries.. “(http://www.bmz.de/de/themen/HIVAIDS/hintergrund/index.html)
Approximately 2 million cases of HIV / AIDS infections are reported 2012 for Kenya. 2012, there were approximately 8{511a4999f6ad55efab9c4f65b8007fac523dec59fee8848f04af929697f9a63d} of the adult population, and depending on the region 25-90{511a4999f6ad55efab9c4f65b8007fac523dec59fee8848f04af929697f9a63d} of prostitutes are HIV-positive.
(Ministry of Foreign Affair http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/DE/Laenderinformationen/00-SiHi/Nodes/KeniaSicherheit_node.html#doc351690bodyText2)

Educational system

The curriculum is oriented around the so-called 8-4-4 system which replaced the Eurocentric colonial schooling system. It stands for 8 years at primary school, 4 years at grammar school and 4 years at university.

Every year there is tense competition between schools for the highest points in the national contest. This is extensively covered in the media with sentimental home stories about the proud winners. The best students in the country are awarded an ox or a university scholarship by the governors.

Preschool education

Kindergartens and preschool education are mostly limited to the cities and fee-paying. The predominant demand comes from well-educated and the more wealthy families. Some of the kindergartens operate according to the Montessori teaching method.

Eight-year primary schooling

Many primary schools, especially in the countryside, operated according to the Harambee principle, i.e. they are financed via donations from the parents themselves. These schools were poor in every respect. This situation did not begin to improve until 2003, when the Kibaki government honoured their election promise to abolish school fees for primary schools. This gave children from poorer families access to education for the first time. Suddenly, an extra 1.7 million children were going to school. However, there is a lack of investment in the education sector and the education system is hardly in a position to cope with the rising numbers of students.

The teacher-student ratio has fallen to 1:100, making a qualitatively valuable lesson almost impossible. In addition, teacher numbers are constantly on the decrease. And those who want a halfway acceptable teacher-student ratio for their children, with its associated higher academic success and are not satisfied with just a certificate allowing their children to move on to the next class, continue to be forced to pay the appropriate fees to send their children to one of the many private schools.

High schools

High schools (classes 9 – 12) are almost all grammar schools and fee-paying. They are supported by the state, large organisations such as churches or private individuals. The latter two are generally classified as private schools. Due to the costs involved, these schools are inaccessible to the majority of the population, even though the private schools award scholarships. Some schools, such as the Starehe Boys Centre exclusively take in gifted children from slum areas. It always stands in your favour if you have been to one of the long standing famous elite schools (such as the Alliance High School).

Vocational training

Vocational training, such as that known as the dual system in Germany or that which is common in all vocational schools, does not exist in Kenya. There is in-service training either within a company or within one of the many private institutions in the cities, offering courses such as car mechanics, hairdressing or computing. Each of these courses costs money. For example, a hardware specialist can be trained up in Nairobi for 2,000 euros over 18 months. Such training hugely increases your chances on the free market.

Universities

The top few students receive free places at five of the state-run universities. Those rated less “good” are channelled into the (international) fee-paying private universities. The universities often lack essential funds resulting in lecturers or students frequently staging strikes.

The country’s elite (or communities who raise the money via Harambee) still prefer to send their children to pursue their studies in Great Britain or the USA. Some come to study in Germany. Studying abroad usually gives them a head start when looking for a job.

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