ChildFund Serving Those Under Age 5, Meeting Needs of Most Vulnerable in African Drought Crisis

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Richmond, VA – July 25, 2011 – ChildFund International continues to respond to the situation that threatens 11.5 million children and their families throughout Kenya and Ethiopia. ChildFund’s Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) centers are helping to keep children fed, as many schools throughout the Turkana North District of Kenya and surrounding areas continue to close due to lack of food. ChildFund has launched a massive emergency effort.

David Kang’ethe, sponsor relations and communications director for ChildFund Kenya, reports from the hard-hit Turkana region of northern Kenya, “ChildFund is among a few centers offering supplementary food to children under age 5 in Turkana, and the number of children keeps on swelling dramatically. Many of the centers have run out of food, and they have closed, leaving thousands of under-5-year-old children in danger of starvation.”

ChildFund supports 13 ECCD centers in the area, with an enrollment of 2,600 children under 5. A concerned mother of seven in the Lochwarengan village of Turkana says, "I know it will be very painful in the evening for them to sleep without an evening meal, but I'm happy tomorrow they will be able to get something when they go to the ECCD center, where they will be able to be fed.”

ChildFund is focusing its efforts on those in the 0-to-5 age category, as well as expectant and lactating mothers. Our efforts are focused squarely on those groups, says Victor Koyi, national director of ChildFund Kenya, “because of the vulnerability of this age group and the lifelong implications of inadequate food intake at this stage.”

In addition to providing food and water, ChildFund is also working to keep families and children in their communities. “We don’t want these vulnerable children and their families to have to move away,” says ChildFund president and CEO Anne Lynam Goddard. “We know how detrimental that is to their development. Childhood is a one-time opportunity.”

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