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Afrikable's work in Africa focuses on Lamu, an island off the north coast of Kenya which is part of what is known as the Horn of Africa.

It has a population of about 10,000 inhabitants, but receives displaced people from other parts of the country who are fleeing serious drought and famine which in recent years have been ravaging the Horn of Africa, leading to a shocking increase in the price of basic products and an influx of internal refugees in search of opportunities that Lamu might offer.

The island has serious problems: over 30% of the population (especially children) are malnourished, more than 65% of the population live below the poverty line (on less than 2 dollars a day), one third of children cannot go to school, etc. This situation is worse for women, who are extremely vulnerable and suffer social, political and economic exclusion.

Socioeconomic Data

Status of women

According to the UNDP, Kenya has a gender inequality index of 0.627 and is one of the 12 countries with the greatest gender inequalities in the world. These figures would be even worse if the coastal area could be measured independently.

Kenya is divided into two distinct areas. On the one hand, the inland area of the continent, predominantly Christian, where more than seventy different tribal groups live. The majority of the population belong to the Kikuyu and the Luo tribes. On the other hand, the coastal area is mainly Muslim, and the majority of the population are Swahili.

Swahili women, along with Orma and Maasai women, are the ones who suffer the greatest inequalities.

In Lamu the presence, or rather the absence, of women is remarkable just about anywhere. Their main activity is looking after their children. On average, each woman has six children, making it extremely difficult to hold down a job.


In 2005 Kenya's investment in education was 6.7% of GDP, making it easily one of the African countries that invested most in education. At present, however, the investment has dropped to 4.3%.

The situation is even worse in Lamu: Usually schools do not receive the budget allocated by the Government on time. In this situation the head of the school has to seek financial contributions from pupils' parents. Many of these parents cannot pay even that minimum contribution and are forced to withdraw their children from school. The result is that one-third of school-age children do not go to school. Of the two thirds who do, only half go on to secondary education, and of these only a few can afford to go to university.

The adult literacy rate in Kenya is 73.6%. In Lamu, the majority of illiterate adults are women.


Life expectancy in Kenya according to the latest UNDP report is 57 years, although adjusted for state of health it falls to 48. Spending on health, unlike education, is minimal: only 1.8% of GDP. Malnutrition is one of the major health issues Kenya faces, affecting 30% of the population.

Together with malnutrition, infectious respiratory diseases (pneumonia, tuberculosis etc.) and malaria are the main threats to Lamu’s population, especially amongst children. HIV/AIDS is also prevalent on the island. The eradication of these diseases is one of the aims of the Millennium Development Goals.

Infant and maternal mortality is also a major concern: the maternal mortality rate in Kenya is one of the highest in the world. In 2008, there were 530 maternal deaths recorded amongst those giving birth in hospitals (the figures did not take into account home births). Just 44% of births are attended by trained health workers in Kenya: in Lamu, the figure drops to just 15%.


According to the latest UNDP report, Kenya is categorised as ‘low’ on the Human Development Index. In Kenya, more than 58% of the population live below the poverty line. In 2007, the minimum wage was just over €20 per month. In 2009 the government tripled the figure and it now stands at around €60 per month. This was a major advance, but in practice the increase is unlikely to affect those working in casual jobs without contracts. Fishing is the main source of income in Lamu, followed by tourism. Post-election violence in 2007, kidnappings in 2011, and the global economic crisis have all contributed to a decline in the tourist industry.



Afrikable is a Spanish charitable organisation, registered in the National Register of Associations under number 1/1/594088 and in the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID)'s Register of Non-Governmental Organisations under number 2033.


In Kenya our association is called Afrika Able Organization and is registered with Kenya's NGO Coordination Board under number 10976.


  • Lamu, Kenia.
    Madrid, Spain
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