WFP Kenya Country Brief, January 2017



  • Kenya has declared the drought a national disaster and requested for international assistance.

  • Number of acutely food-insecure Kenyans more than doubles to 2.6 million.

  • WFP urgently requires funding to support children with moderate acute malnutrition and school children.

  • WFP continues with ration cuts for refugees due to limited funding.

Operational Updates

  • On 10 February, Kenya's president declared the drought a national disaster, and appealed for local and international assistance to complement government efforts. The recent assessment of the short rains season shows acutely food-insecure Kenyans have more than doubled to 2.6 million for February-August 2017, up from 1.25 million. The Government has allocated funds to tackle the drought, which is affecting people, livestock and wildlife in 23 of Kenya's 47 counties, including USD 55 million for food and cash transfers.

  • The deterioration in food security followed two consecutive poor rainy seasons, which was particularly difficult for people in the marginal agricultural counties, as they depend mainly on harvests from the short rains season. The government has been responding with relief distributions of food, water and fodder.

  • WFP will work with the government to examine if there will be gaps in food assistance once the coverage by government relief food/cash transfers, safety nets and WFP asset creation is taken into account. WFP is advising the Government’s State Department of Special Programmes on possible options for cash transfers for drought response.

  • Malnutrition is extremely critical in parts of Marsabit, Mandera and Turkana, which have global acute malnutrition (GAM) reaching 30 percent. The Ministry of Health has requested WFP to provide ready-to-use supplementary foods to treat children aged 6-59 months for three months (March-June). County governments are scaling-up their nutrition response, including mass screening and outreach, which will improve early identification and access to essential services for malnourished people requiring support.

  • The Ministry of Education has requested for funds (USD 3 million) from the Treasury to provide school meals in the arid lands during term 1 (4 January - 7 April) as WFP has a funding gap. However, the funds are yet to be released, and there are grave concerns on the impact the drought is already having on education. Anecdotal information indicates that enrolment and attendance have plunged to under 50 percent in Marsabit, Samburu and Turkana.

  • WFP hosted a group of organizations in Makueni to demonstrate the potential of farm ponds to improve household food security. Scaling-up farm pond technologies could mitigate the challenges of rain-fed production in the arid lands and increase resilience to drought at scale.