Beneath the Dryland: Kenya drought gender analysis

Photo credit: Joyce Kabue/Oxfam
Paper publication date: 
Tuesday, January 9, 2018

In the arid and semi-arid land (ASAL) counties of Kenya, people are experiencing a food security and nutrition crisis as the drought has worsened since August 2016. The number of food-insecure people reached 2.7 million in July 2017, including 375,285 children and pregnant and breast-feeding women.1 The drought has undermined coping capacities and exacerbated vulnerabilities (e.g. by destroying livelihoods and triggering local conflicts over scare resources). Most of the respondents in the two ASAL counties studied in this report, Turkana and Wajir, recognized that a number of coping mechanisms had various detrimental effects on individuals and the whole community. Because of these effects, there is an increase in children who need educational assistance;2 protection issues are worsening (with women more likely to face sexual violence when travelling longer distances or within households); and boys and men are largely affected by conflict and crime. Finally, disease outbreaks have reached an unprecedented level and medical lifesaving interventions are needed.3 The drought has also exacerbated gender-specific problems, with different physical and psychological issues for women and men.