Diakonia - People change the world


In Kenya, Diakonia co-operates with a variety of local and national NGOs, along the thematic areas of governance and democracy, human rights, food security and gender equality. Together with our partner organizations, we raise awareness among citizens about their rights and responsibilities, and mobilise the populations for action and influence around common interests.

10/29/2013 Publisher: Lucy Githaiga

Young people face several challenges and opportunities

Kenya has a population of over 40 million, half of which are under 19 years old (2010). The unemployment rate is around 40 per cent and about half of the population lives below the poverty line. Kenya faces several challenges: a significant income gap between genders and between urban and rural communities, and a need for substantial constitutional and law reforms. Kenya has a newly devolved system of governance and has recently discovered the potential for oil, gas and other natural resources. The extractive industry is set to overtake agriculture as the main income source for the country.

Our support

Strengthening citizen participation for greater accountability is a significant area of interest for Diakonia in Kenya. We do this by supporting projects that raise awareness among citizens about their rights and organize the populations around common interests.

Progress made

Some significant progress through Diakonia's support includes increased community participation in management of public expenditure, work against corruption, an increase of women's influence in the political decision making at the local and national level, and decreasing incidents of human rights violations. Diakonia and our partner organizations lobbied frequently for more female candidates in the 2013 election in Kenya. Political parties and the electoral body was put under pressure, which eventually reduced the registration fees, allowing more women candidates to participate in the general elections of 2013.

Through our partner organizations, Diakonia have also built the capacity of prisoners to participate in the judicial reform process by presenting petitions on the challenges they experience. The partner organizations also engage in public litigation regarding the rights of prisoners to vote in the general elections, which they are now allowed to do.

BAFOPE works for peaceful elections

Our long term partnership with BAFOPE (Former Bagdad boys gang that terrorised Kisumu) has seen great transformation with BAFOPE, which is now recognized as a key stakeholder in community policing and security matters in the Kisumu county. We believe in building the capacity of partner organizations to become strong players and actors.

During the 2013 general elections, our capacity building and citizen strengthening initiatives resulted in some candidates availing themselves for vetting by citizens. In some areas, candidates who scored the highest during the vetting ended up being elected. This has created confidence among citizens in their ability to set a stage to hold political leaders accountable.

Responding to the famine and strengthening community resilience

In 2011, the Horn of Africa, including Kenya, was hit by drought and famine. Many Kenyans were severely affected and the country also received refugees from neighbouring Somalia. Together with our local partner organization NCCK and the network ACT Alliance, Diakonia provided humanitarian aid. When the humanitarian response phase came to an end, Diakonia did not abandon the affected communities. We have instead continued to work with the communities in Kitui to strengthen resilience using technology, which has led to increased food security.

Read more about our work in Kenya