Parliamentarians see why Canadian aid matters on delegation to Kenya

By: Results Canada Published: 30/01/2023

During the week of January 16-20, Results Canada had the opportunity to take 4 Members of Parliament (MPs), MP Scott Aitchison, MP Valerie Bradford, MP Iqwinder Gaheer, and MP Eric Melillo, to see the challenges of and solutions to global poverty in Kenya. We explored programs reaching the most marginalized with life-saving interventions, focusing on early childhood development, tuberculosis, maternal health and nutrition, and education, among other high-impact initiatives. We approached all our visits with a cross-cutting lens on gender equality and localization.

why did we go to Kenya?

Kenya is a strategic choice to examine the impact of equitable access to health and education for several reasons. In Kenya, roughly 36.1% of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.90 per day. A harsh climate, with cyclical droughts, disproportionally impacts the most marginalized populations, especially women and children. The COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbated these vulnerabilities. Although there has been steady progress, with support from donors like Canada, challenges remain with high rates of youth unemployment, income inequality, a vulnerable economy, and a lack of access to and quality in the health care sector. The delegation provided a unique opportunity to see firsthand what Kenya is doing to address these pressing issues.

Thanks to the support of partners in Kenya like ACTION partner KANCOUNICEF, Nutrition International, FIND, the global alliance for diagnostics, Stop TB Partnership and TB Alliance, we were able to meet with Canadian international development organizations, Kenyan Government officials, local civil society organizations, community health care workers and community members. The delegates had a briefing at the Official Residence of the High Commissioner of Canada to Kenya and a meeting with Kenyan parliamentarians.

A few highlights from our visits stand out: 

  • We learned about strengthening access to justice for survivors of gender-based violence and gender equality at the Centre for Rights Education and Awareness. With support provided by Canada, the Centre, based in Kibera – the largest urban informal settlement in Africa – has been able to provide services to more than 3,000 survivors of gender-based violence.
  • We visited health and nutrition programs in Makueni County at a time when the county is reeling from the adverse impacts of a prolonged drought that has caused widespread hunger and malnutrition in many parts of Kenya and East Africa. We had the opportunity to meet with community health volunteers, like Eunice Nziro, who shared her experiences with the delegates, including how she trekked 8kms on parched terrain with her neighbour who had gone into labour, just to ensure she got to the nearest health center in time. 
  • We also visited a tuberculosis (TB) clinic in Machakos county where we accompanied Community Health Volunteers undertaking COVID-19 and TB tests in households.  
  • On the final day, the delegates visited an early childhood development center (Little Angels Day Care) in Korogocho, another informal settlement, and discussed with childcare providers on their role in childcare and the challenges faced. 

All the MPs returned to Canada having learned the role our government can play in fostering impactful development policy and support, which is especially important as we advocate for an increase in Canadian aid in the 2023 budget with our #KeepThePromise campaign. Here’s what the MPs had to say about their experience:  

The MPs were also kind enough to answer questions asked by volunteer advocates about the MPs' reflections on the delegation and their involvement with international development. Find out what they had to say:

Want to see more? Find our Executive Director Chris Dendys’ reflections on the delegation on our Instagram Reels!

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