The small fishing village of Kolunga Beach on Rusinga Island in Kenya is in the midst of crisis.
The HIV/AIDS prevalence rate stands at approximately 41% in region. This pandemic has created vast numbers of orphans and at-risk helpless children in the village. The area is known to many as the Malaria Capital of the World, as approximately 20% of children under the age of five die of malaria and the disease remains the single highest cause of child and adult death in the area.
Raw sewage, over-fishing, and agricultural run-off are slowly destroying the lake’s ecosystem which, in turn, threatens the livelihoods and traditional lifestyles of the area’s residents. The unemployment rate is high; at the beach, desperate women exchange sex for fish from migrant fishermen so that they can feed their families.
The village’s only source of drinking water is Lake Victoria. The unclean water is the cause of waterborne diseases that are decimating the population and heath of the island. Proper latrines are not available to the small community to replace the inadequate ones present, and the village is without means to safely deposit human waste. The growing problem of trash in the area offers a startling counter to the village’s complete void of trees, having been cut down to be used as cooking fuel.
Our programs address these issues by supporting community-driven initiatives in direct collaboration with partners. Together, we are working towards sustainable programs to help conquer extreme poverty by increasing opportunity and empowering the Rusinga Island Community.