Food Assistance Fact Sheet - Kenya

April 6, 2017

Food Security Situation

Map of Kenya
CIA World Factbook
  • The poor performance of both 2016 rainy seasons has led to severe drought and deteriorating food security and nutrition conditions in 23 northern pastoral, coastal, and southeast marginal agricultural counties of Kenya.  A Government of Kenya-led assessment released in February reports that an estimated 2.6 million people are acutely food insecure, over four times as many in need of food assistance as in February 2016.  Approximately 2.2 million people are facing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) acute food insecurity.  According to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), some worst affected poor households in northern parts of Marsabit and Turkana counties could face Emergency (IPC Phase 4) acute food insecurity through September.  Food security is likely to continue worsening as the March-to-May 2017 long rains are projected to be below average, limiting the recovery of water sources and pasture.  These long rains are also not the main season for crop production in coastal and southeastern areas, meaning households in these areas will not have another significant harvest until 2018, further eroding food security conditions.  At least 412,000 children younger than five years of age are acutely malnourished, including more than 98,000 experiencing severe acute malnutrition (SAM).  The nutrition situation in parts of Turkana, Marsabit, and Mandera counties are classified as extremely critical with global acute malnutrition levels greater than 30 percent.  On March 16, the UN released a Flash Appeal for Kenya, requesting nearly $166 million to provide life-saving assistance, to protect livelihoods, and to strengthen resilience.  

  • According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Kenya hosts nearly 500,000 refugees, most of whom are from Somalia. In May 2016, the Government of Kenya (GoK) announced that it would close Kenya’s largest refugee camp complex, Dadaab, by November 30, 2016. The GoK has since extended the camp’s closure deadline to May 2017, but the situation continues to present significant challenges. 

Food Assistance Programs

  • The Office of Food for Peace (FFP) partners with the UN World Food Program (WFP) to provide relief and build resilience among the most vulnerable populations in Kenya, including refugee populations living in camps. In the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs), FFP supports food insecure Kenyans by providing cash or food in exchange for work on improving community infrastructure, such as rehabilitating local roads or irrigation systems. WFP has begun handing over its general food distributions to some county authorities—a process that is expected to continue and accelerate over the next year. WFP is now focusing instead on asset creation activities that build capacity and resilience. FFP is also providing funding and in-kind Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods to UNICEF for the treatment of severe acute malnutrition in the ASALs and among refugee populations in Kenya. 

  • FFP supports refugees living in the Dadaab and Kakuma camps, and their host communities, through direct food distributions, education on maternal and child health, livelihoods training, and supplementary and therapeutic nutritious foods.

Food for Peace Contributions

Total Contributions:

  U.S. Dollars Metric Tons
Fiscal Year 2017 $42.5 million 45,920 MT
Fiscal Year 2016 $63.8 million 51,150 MT
Fiscal Year 2015 $83.0 million 74,331 MT
Fiscal Year 2014 $111.4 million 74,780 MT

Fiscal Year 2017 Contribution Breakdown:

  U.S. Dollars Metric Tons
Title II Development $20 million 23,800 MT
Title II Emergency $22.5 million 22,120 MT
Emergency Food Security Program (EFSP) ---- ----

Food Security Situation information is provided by FEWS NET and Refugee Information by UNHCR as of March 2017.

Related Resources

Horn of Africa Complex Emergency Fact Sheet

Food for Peace Success Story - Kenya's County Governments Take Lead in Food Assistance

Last updated: April 06, 2017

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