Another Kenya

The humanitarian cost of under-development
NAIROBI, 17 December 2009 (IRIN) - Just a few hundred kilometres north of the glittering skyscrapers of Nairobi and game parks that attract tourists from across the world, a common greeting when strangers meet is, “Habari ya Kenya?” – What news from Kenya? For although districts such as Moyale, Marsabit, Samburu and Wajir are in the same republic as Nairobi, their residents are resigned to living in what amounts to another country.

The vast arid lands of northern Kenya are generally drier, less fertile, poorer and rank lower in most humanitarian and development league tables than the rest of the country.

Guns are ubiquitous, state security services largely absent. Violent deaths among the pastoralists who make up most of the population are frequent. More blood flows when it rains. Preventable and treatable diseases are often neither prevented nor treated for want of adequate healthcare. Attracting qualified doctors and nurses to the hinterland is a major challenge. There is not enough to eat, or if there is, it is too expensive or insufficiently nutritious - millions depend on food aid. In many northern areas, more than a third of children are at risk of malnutrition. All these issues and more are explored in this special series of articles and photographs.

Food Security

Malnutrition levels in northeast stubbornly high

Malnutrition levels in pastoralist districts of northeastern Kenya have remained high, despite recent rains that boosted livestock productivity, the mainstay of the local economy, officials said. full report

Dealing with drought
Food security warning after rains fail
Where there's cluck, there's brass


Nomadic communities struggle to access PMTCT

Nomadic Kenyan women who test positive for HIV but live in remote areas far from the nearest health facility are missing out on the opportunity to prevent their children from becoming infected with the virus. full report

Camel clinics bring condoms to nomads
Where life can be brutal and short
Cholera claims 24 lives in northwest
Replacing the bucket latrine


Hundreds displaced in northeast clashes

At least 600 families have been displaced in inter-clan clashes over land in Kenya’s northeastern district of Garissa, say officials. The clashes, between the Abdalla and Awdag sub-clans of the Ogaden left two people dead and some houses burned. full report

Voices of peace in a land of conflict
Your guns or your freedom, please
What drives conflict in northern Kenya


The role of culture in child nutrition

Two-year-old Safia Emoi is weak, thin and listless. She has just arrived at the Heillu Health centre with her mother Amima Mohammed ... full report

"Children are on the brink of death" in northeast
Selling the cows to feed the children


In and out of school in Samburu

Many Kenyan children are in school, but enrolment in the north has been adversely affected by insecurity, food scarcity and traditional attitudes, residents and teachers said. full report

Food keeps schools open