Acute lack of water in Kenya affects number of children attending school

12 Jan 2023 by The Water Diplomat

The number of children threatened by hunger, lack of water and disease in the Horn of Africa has doubled to 20.2 million since July 2022. The number of people suffering from acute water shortages has also doubled to 24 million. In Kenya, the worst drought in 40 years is effectively  pushing some 1.5 million children out of school. This is in addition to the 1.9 million children already out of school in the arid and semi-arid regions of the country, the United Nations announced on its website . The situation is due to the historic drought in East Africa, Education Cannot Wait, the UN's global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, attributed the situation to the historic drought, simultaneously announcing a $2 million grant towards emergency needs. The situation is alarming, especially as millions of children are at risk. UNICEF and UNHCR are announcing the first emergency response grant that will reach 39,000 girls and boys in need of urgent support. A one-year grant will provide access to safe water in schools to ensure children are protected, get children back on track to learn with supplies, back-to-school campaigns and support for teachers. A child who drops out of school faces hunger, early marriage, forced labour, recruitment into criminal and armed groups and other abuses, UNICEF warns.  "The climate crisis impacts the education of 40 million children every year. In Kenya and across the Horn of Africa, we need to combine action on education with action on climate to keep girls and boys in school," said Yasmine Sherif, Director of the UN Global Emergency Education Fund. Lack of water affects parents' livelihoods and increases children's vulnerability, especially in drought-affected areas. According to UNICEF, as many as 460 schools have no water source, and more than 1,800 rely on rainwater collection. In addition to Kenya, UNICEF warned on 22 December that water insecurity has more than doubled in Ethiopia and Somalia.  Nearly 24 million people are now facing severe water shortages, the fund said in a statement.