Child Poverty in Kenya

A Multidimensional Approach
Child Poverty in Kenya

SPRI Global was happy to support UNICEF Kenya and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) in producing the CHILD POVERTY IN KENYA report. This report is the first of its kind in Kenya and is being launched at a crucial development juncture, just before the design and development of the Third Medium Term Plan (2018–2022) of Vision 2030 and following the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda.

The child poverty report presents the findings of multidimensional child deprivation analysis based on the 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey. This is the first study of its kind to incorporate a qualitative research component. Breastfeeding mothers, parents, teachers, nurses, doctors, community health workers, and county sector heads in Turkana, Kakamega, and Kitui were interviewed during August 2016 to give a voice to the quantitative research findings.

Helping children avoid poverty and overcome its damaging effects will make a huge difference not only to their lives but also to the lives of their families, communities and ultimately their country. The evidence of child deprivation from this study provides a strong opportunity for concerted, comprehensive responses targeting not only social services but also interventions to address the plight of children unable to realize their rights and fulfill their basic needs.

In the context of SDGs, the study is also very timely to provide Kenya with critical baseline information for monitoring the SDGs 1 and 10. The design of the Kenya Medium Term Plan III and the next County Integrated Development Plans and other sectoral strategies will benefit greatly from the evidence and deep analysis of child poverty based on nonmonetary indicators presented in this report.

Kenya now joins the 60+ countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe that use UNICEF’s National Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (N-MODA) to analyze child poverty and deprivation in the country. The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) has chosen MODA for estimating multidimensional deprivation and poverty among children of all ages. The study was officially launched in March 2018.

KNBS appreciated the fact that MODA, contrary to other approaches, uses individual data for children to assess multiple deprivations in a rights-based framework. The MODA application for Kenya is complemented with monetary poverty analysis and monitors progress in realization of SDG 1.2.2. (reducing poverty of men, women, and children of all ages in all its dimensions) between 2008-09 and 2014 using Kenya Demographic Health Survey data. The results are provided separately for boys and girls and the 47 county profiles.

MODA results in the study have been complemented with qualitative research findings from fieldwork in the counties of Turkana, Kakamega, and Kitui carried out during August 2016. SPRI team carried out numerous focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with service providers in the sectors of health, education, and nutrition, and beneficiaries – mothers and children – to gain an insight on barriers in service accessibility and bottlenecks in service provision.

Angola, Cambodia, Zambia, Lesotho, Rwanda, Swaziland, Ethiopia and Libya are also set to publish child poverty studies based on MODA.

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