Please help a child facing malnutrition in northern Kenya

Kenya is facing its worst drought in three decades and around 2.6 million people urgently need humanitarian assistance.

In rural Kenya, many villages are several days' walk or even a boat ride away from a health clinic or hospital. If malnourished children are not treated before they reach the age of five, this can have lifelong effects on their physical and cognitive development. This is why we must reach families in need now.

Muna, pictured above, is a community health nurse who is running our emergency project in northern Kenya. In mid-July, over 60% of the women and children screened by her team per week were suffering from malnutrition. 

In the two counties where we're working, Isiolo and Marsabit, infrastructure is poor. There are hardly any paved roads. Many people are nomadic and communities are far apart. The countryside is sparse and there is frequent conflict over access to water, all of which makes helping difficult.

The need in Kenya is overwhelming. Both Isiolo and Marsabit have global acute malnutrition* (GAM) rates far above emergency levels. In Marsabit, malnutrition levels are double the emergency threshold.

The sad truth is that children, mothers-to-be and new mothers will die if we don’t fund this project.

Your role in the solution

Muna, along with a team of volunteer nurses from the UK, are visiting rural communities at least four times a week to hold outreach sessions. On some days, the team see and assess more than 100 children. On other days, the team drive five hours to remote parts of the county and only see a handful of people.

We follow the internationally recognised Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition** (IMAM) guidelines. This involves screening, referrals and treatment of malnutrition.

Our volunteer doctor, Lucy Obolensky, has recently returned from Isiolo. She explains why our project is so urgently needed:

The budget and what your gift will pay for

We initially want to set up the feeding programme for six months until the next rains are due in October. The budget for the project is as follows:

Our outreaches are currently treating approximately 1,200 people per month.

It costs around £8.41 to help each child, mum-to-be or new mum.

*  A GAM rate of 15% is considered an emergency and the rate in Isiolo is currently 19% and rising. The GAM rate in Marsabit is over 30%. 
** If you would like to know more about IMAM then we have a guide we can send you.

This appeal has been updated on the following dates: 20 July to update statistics about Kenya's drought and the progress of our project; 12 June to include the video from the field and to update on what has happened so far; 11 April to reflect the project we plan to run in response to the famine; and on 24 March to reflect that Kenya had been added to our appeal. Our appeal initially concerned the crisis in Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.