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CASE STUDY GLOBAL INTERDEPENDENCE: 13.2 ACTION AID IN KENYA, A PHILOSOPHY BASED ON DEVELOPMENT

CASE STUDY GLOBAL INTERDEPENDENCE: 13.2 ACTION AID IN KENYA, A PHILOSOPHY BASED ON DEVELOPMENT

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A2 LEVEL CAMBRIDGE
CHAPTER 13: GLOBAL INTERDEPENDENCE
13.2 TRADE AND AID AND THEIR MANAGEMENT
ACTION AID KENYA
A PHILOSOPHY BASED ON DEVELOPMENT
BACKGROUND
Kenya lies in East Africa, between
5ºN and 5ºS. It covers an area of
582,644 sq. km and has a population of
over 30 million. Formerly a British
colony, Kenya achieved
independence in 1963, and its
founding mission was to fight
poverty, ignorance and disease.
The initial decade was full of promise.
The economy flourished and per
capita income rose, infrastructure
was built up and essential services
were increased across the country.
Exports of tea and coffee, and an
increase in foreign tourism, provided
vital foreign exchange.
KENYA TODAY
The initial progress
was not sustained, and the last
decade has been the worst since
independence. Population growth
has continued, whilst GDP has
declined. Industry and services are
collapsing, and illiteracy, disease and
malnutrition are still high. Life
expectancy has fallen from 59 years
at independence to just 46 in 2001. In
2003, Kenya was ranked 146 out of
174 in the Human Development
Index. The number of people living
in absolute poverty (less than US$1 per
day) has risen from fewer than 4 million
(1972) to over 15 million today.
Kenya is also the second most inequitable
country in the world, with the richest
10% of people owning 47% of the
country’s national income. With this
financial inequity comes huge differences
in power and control over resources and
services. Gender inequity is
also a problem in Kenya, and
even when laws have been
changed in favour of women,
the practice still lags far
behind. The reasons for this
decline and inequality are
complex and reach far beyond
Kenya itself. Mismanagement
and corruption are to blame,
but are only part of the
picture. Kenya, like many
developing countries, has
considerable debts and was
forced to adopt structural
adjustment policies. Public
spending was cut and the currency (the
Kenyan shilling, Kshs) was devalued in
an attempt to make more money
available to pay back loans. At the same
time, prices for agricultural exports (e.g.
tea and coffee) fell and biased interna-
tional trade rules made things even
harder for farmers. In recent years the
tourist industry has suffered due to
ethnic violence, flooding and the threat
of terrorist attacks. All this has meant
that Kenya has been
struggling to pay an
increasing debt using a
decreasing income, and poor
people have suffered most.
In recent years there have
been some promising signs
of improvement in Kenya.
Multi-party democracy was
introduced in 1992, and a
new government was
elected in 2003. The
press has greater freedom
and is now able to report on
issues which were
considered too politically
sensitive a few years ago. The growth of
national and local NGOs means that
people have more opportunities to make
changes in their lives and influence
policies.
Giving voice to all
Everyone has the
same basic rights to
safe water, food,
education, shelter,
healthcare, infor-
mation and a life of
dignity, but poor
people are often
disproportionately
denied these rights.
ActionAid works by
firstly giving people
the goods, services,
knowledge and abil-
ities they need to
improve their lives.
Once the basics are
in place it is then
possible to build the
skills, knowledge
and organisational
support that people
need if lasting
improvements are
done.
Linking people and
groups with
similar goals.
ActionAid forms
partnerships with
local organisations
because they know
what communities
really need. These
organisations are
given financial
support and
training. Linking
together people and
organisations with
common goals
allows shared
learning and
increases the
impact of
campaigning.
Influencing the
powerful through
campaigning.
Working in poor
communities will
not have much
impact in the long-
term unless the
conditions that keep
people poor can
also be changed.
ActionAid uses
experience in poor
communities to
inform national and
international
campaigns and has
teams working on
education,
food and HIV/AIDS.
Equal rights for
women.
ActionAid works for
men and women to
have equal status
and challenges
practices that vio-
late women’s rights.
ActionAid works
with women to
ensure develop-
ments make their
work easier.

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CASE STUDY GLOBAL INTERDEPENDENCE: 13.2 ACTION AID IN KENYA, A PHILOSOPHY BASED ON DEVELOPMENT

  • 1. A2 LEVEL CAMBRIDGE CHAPTER 13: GLOBAL INTERDEPENDENCE 13.2 TRADE AND AID AND THEIR MANAGEMENT ACTION AID KENYA A PHILOSOPHY BASED ON DEVELOPMENT BACKGROUND Kenya lies in East Africa, between 5ºN and 5ºS. It covers an area of 582,644 sq. km and has a population of over 30 million. Formerly a British colony, Kenya achieved independence in 1963, and its founding mission was to fight poverty, ignorance and disease. The initial decade was full of promise. The economy flourished and per capita income rose, infrastructure was built up and essential services were increased across the country. Exports of tea and coffee, and an increase in foreign tourism, provided vital foreign exchange. KENYA TODAY The initial progress was not sustained, and the last decade has been the worst since independence. Population growth has continued, whilst GDP has declined. Industry and services are collapsing, and illiteracy, disease and malnutrition are still high. Life expectancy has fallen from 59 years at independence to just 46 in 2001. In 2003, Kenya was ranked 146 out of 174 in the Human Development Index. The number of people living in absolute poverty (less than US$1 per day) has risen from fewer than 4 million (1972) to over 15 million today.
  • 2. Kenya is also the second most inequitable country in the world, with the richest 10% of people owning 47% of the country’s national income. With this financial inequity comes huge differences in power and control over resources and services. Gender inequity is also a problem in Kenya, and even when laws have been changed in favour of women, the practice still lags far behind. The reasons for this decline and inequality are complex and reach far beyond Kenya itself. Mismanagement and corruption are to blame, but are only part of the picture. Kenya, like many developing countries, has considerable debts and was forced to adopt structural adjustment policies. Public spending was cut and the currency (the Kenyan shilling, Kshs) was devalued in an attempt to make more money available to pay back loans. At the same time, prices for agricultural exports (e.g. tea and coffee) fell and biased interna- tional trade rules made things even harder for farmers. In recent years the tourist industry has suffered due to ethnic violence, flooding and the threat of terrorist attacks. All this has meant that Kenya has been struggling to pay an increasing debt using a decreasing income, and poor people have suffered most. In recent years there have been some promising signs of improvement in Kenya. Multi-party democracy was introduced in 1992, and a new government was elected in 2003. The press has greater freedom and is now able to report on issues which were considered too politically sensitive a few years ago. The growth of national and local NGOs means that people have more opportunities to make changes in their lives and influence policies. Giving voice to all Everyone has the same basic rights to safe water, food, education, shelter, healthcare, infor- mation and a life of dignity, but poor people are often disproportionately denied these rights. ActionAid works by firstly giving people the goods, services, knowledge and abil- ities they need to improve their lives. Once the basics are in place it is then possible to build the skills, knowledge and organisational support that people need if lasting improvements are done. Linking people and groups with similar goals. ActionAid forms partnerships with local organisations because they know what communities really need. These organisations are given financial support and training. Linking together people and organisations with common goals allows shared learning and increases the impact of campaigning. Influencing the powerful through campaigning. Working in poor communities will not have much impact in the long- term unless the conditions that keep people poor can also be changed. ActionAid uses experience in poor communities to inform national and international campaigns and has teams working on education, food and HIV/AIDS. Equal rights for women. ActionAid works for men and women to have equal status and challenges practices that vio- late women’s rights. ActionAid works with women to ensure develop- ments make their work easier.