THE EAST AFRICAN CHILDREN’S FUND MISSION
East African Children's Fund (EAC Fund) partners with community leaders to feed more than 1,000 orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) and youth. Every day, our partners serve more than 4,000 meals. Proper and adequate nutrition positively impacts intellectual, physical, and emotional development, influencing future economic opportunities. EAC Fund targets two interrelated issues: a growing young population and food insecurity. When children are no longer hungry, they can begin to hope and dream about their future.
EAC Fund’s current projects are located in Kenya, East Africa, where:
- A national drought emergency was declared in February, 2017
The number of food insecure people in Kenya more than doubled to 2.7 million this year. In nearly half the counties in Kenya, water sources are drying. Communities face starvation due to a lack of water and food. As crops fail and livestock die, people’s livelihoods wither, too. Children leave school to assist their families in locating water and food.
- The population is both growing and young
Population growth in Kenya is one of the highest in the world. The population has more than tripled in the past 30 years, reaching almost 48 million today. Children comprise almost half the population: 30% of Kenyans are below age 10. (Nine percent of all Kenyan children have experienced the death of at least 1 parent.)
- The agricultural sector is critical to Kenya’s economy
More than 75% of the Kenyan population relies on agriculture for food and income sources despite the fact that only 20% of the total land area is arable.
Farming for personal consumption accounts for about half of Kenya’s total agricultural production. Almost all agricultural output, both crops and livestock, relies on rainfall, making the small-scale farmer especially vulnerable to drought. It’s also a challenge for the small-scale farmer to purchase improved seeds and fertilizer: often they are unavailable and too costly.
Many families choose between feeding their children and paying school fees given that 40% of the population lives below the poverty level of $1.90 per day. Although primary education in Kenya is paid for by the government, families must still buy a uniform, books, and writing materials. Secondary school is not free for Kenyans. It’s common for a child’s education to be interrupted until after a harvest of cash crops can be sold for school fees. Hospital fees for sick family members will also drain any money available for school fees or for seeds and fertilizer.
Often children who have lost a parent or both parents will be taken in by a relative. This is more common in the rural areas, with 25% of households sheltering a foster or orphaned child. These are not always healthy environments, with girls subject to many forms of abuse.
In recent years, Kenya has experienced severe food insecurity. The current drought gripping Kenya has left 2.7 million requiring relief food, which is more than double from last year. According to the UN, in Kenya, “1.1 million children are food insecure, while over 100,000 children under 5 are in need of treatment for severe malnutrition.”
EAC Fund supports these projects focused on improved nutrition and health for orphaned and vulnerable children and youth in East Africa:
- Purchasing locally-grown, highly nutritious food staples: beans, flour, and maize
Health and Hygiene
- Purchasing clothing, mosquito nets, and health test kits
- Supporting vaccination programs and deworming initiatives
- Educating children and youth in the importance of proper nutrition, health and hygiene, including HIV/AIDS awareness
- Purchasing seeds, fertilizers, and small farming equipment and tools
- Engaging in resource management: drip irrigation and rainwater harvesting
- Providing technical expertise: training in horticultural best practices
- Building and maintaining fishponds
- Raising pigs, rabbits, chickens, and goats
- Training youth in best practices and sustainable farming techniques for their own sustenance and so that they can teach other members of their home communities
- Supporting our partners' entrepreneurial projects of income-generating activities of excess crop, fish, and beekeeping production to support food security programs, education, and health and hygiene of the children and youth
President and Treasurer
A former CFO for an automotive manufacturing supplier, Lisa applies her skills in finance, management, and administration to support sustainable solutions to poverty alleviation. With more than 10 years’ experience in community-based development, Lisa specializes in monitoring and evaluation within the project cycle, upholding the values of transparency and efficiency. After teaching beekeeping in 2011 to a group of rural women in Kenya, she became interested in food security as a path to effective development for both current and future generations. Lisa holds a B.A. from Connecticut College and a M.B.A. in International Finance and Investments from The George Washington University.
Doris was born and raised in Meru, Kenya and recently graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Williams College. She has worked with children and youth in Kenya, and has seen firsthand how much the opportunities presented early in life can affect future outcomes. As such, she is keen on working to promote access to the tools children need to reach their full potential, particularly proper and adequate nutrition. Her commitment to children and youth started with teaching in two Kenyan schools and, as a Williams College Summer Fellow, conducting research on topics relating to children and youth in Kenya and South Africa. Doris is currently based in London, working as a Business Associate at an investment management company.
For more than 10 years in Africa and the U.S., Tara has dedicated herself to improving leadership and organizational programming within community-led nonprofits in order to create more dynamic, effective learning organizations. Working across sectors and a wide demographic, she steers organizations towards sustainable programming through on-going training and mentorship. Drawing upon her M.S. in Development Studies (School of Oriental and African Studies, London, UK) and extensive experience across Eastern and Southern Africa, Tara mentors partners in employing qualitative and quantitative data to develop and assess their programming and budgets, improving overall effectiveness and impact.