Emergency Appeal: Drought and Hunger in Kenya’s Arid Regions

March 20, 2017

Women and children waiting in line for water in Kenya.

Women and children from Turkana county, Kenya, have to bear with long lines to access water. Photo: CWS


Severe drought is affecting 2.7 million men, women and children in Kenya.  Crop failures are projected at nearly 70 percent, and in February 2017 the Kenyan government declared a national disaster and issued an urgent call for global assistance to respond to emergency drought needs.  Pastoralists and farmers living in arid and semi-arid regions of northern Kenya have been the hardest hit, as household livelihoods depend almost solely on livestock or subsistence agriculture.

The current drought is projected to last until July 2017. It is attributed to a late start to last year’s short rainy season, which normally occurs in October and November.  That season’s reasons were brief and inadequate for the water needs for vulnerable communities and their livestock.  Food prices have already increased because of shortages caused by the drought, and are disproportionately affecting the poorest households.  In West Pokot county, where CWS implements community-based education programs, this has forced the suspension of school lunches and has dramatically increased absences among students.

CWS Response

CWS is leading the ACT Alliance response in Kenya to address emergency water and sanitation, food security and protection needs, and to act now to reduce future disaster risk exposure. Specific activities will include:

  • Emergency water provision to schools, health centers and community centers
  • Desilting of water pans
  • Emergency food assistance, including through cash-for-work

CWS activities will focus on four counties, Baringo, Kitui, Tana River and West Pokot, where CWS and local partners have been actively supporting community-based access to water, education, livelihoods and disaster preparedness.

Budget (USD)

Emergency water provision – $188,680 (20 percent)
Water pan desilting – $95,600 (10 percent)
Emergency food assistance – $565,200 (59 percent)
Operations and management – $103,485 (11 percent)
Evaluation – $12,100 (1 percent)

How to Help

Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be sent to your denomination or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515 (designate “Kenya Drought”). Donations for this appeal can also be made at cwsglobal.org/KenyaDrought.

CWS is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.