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Sightsavers in Kenya

We work with governments, businesses and local organisations in Kenya to deliver vital charity work to prevent avoidable blindness and uphold the rights of people with disabilities.

Kenya boasts the largest and fastest-growing economy in East and Central Africa.

It has a strong agricultural sector, and emerging services and tourism industries. Yet many people in Kenya struggle to access vital health treatment.

To tackle this, in 2018 the government began piloting universal health coverage, aiming to provide free health care.

There have been several steps to improve disability rights in the country. In 2007, Kenya became one of the first countries to sign the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The government’s National Council for Persons with Disabilities aims to protect and promote human rights for people with disabilities in Kenya, who often face stigma and discrimination.

Facts about Kenya

  • Population: 57 million
  • Capital: Nairobi
  • Official languages: English, Kiswahili
  • Human development index (HDI) ranking: 152 (medium)

7.5 million people in Kenya have vision loss or impairment

7 million people in the country are at risk from trachoma

Sources: World Report on Vision, University of Nairobi

Two men ride motorbikes on a dusty dirt road, amid a spectacular rural landscape with distant trees and mountains.

What are the challenges in Kenya, and how can these be addressed?

Two men ride motorbikes on a dusty dirt road, amid a spectacular rural landscape with distant trees and mountains.

Eye care

Kenya’s health care system lacks funding and essential resources.

While basic health care is a constitutional right, many people in Kenya are unable to access free treatment and vital medicines. Sightsavers has been carrying out charity work in the country for more than 70 years, aiming to improve local health services, train staff and ensure eye care is available for all.

Dressed in surgical scrubs, Samson performs trachoma surgery on a woman outside under a canopy. Two male eye health workers, who are also dressed in surgical scrubs, are on hand to assist.

Our eye care work in Kenya

Free eye screening

Regular screening can check people for eye conditions and refer them for treatment where needed, helping to reduce cases of avoidable blindness.
Learn about eye conditions we treat

Training staff

We’re helping to train doctors and ophthalmic surgeons to boost Kenya’s health care sector and ensure patients receive timely, quality care.
Meet ophthalmic surgeon Elizabeth

Research

Collecting data about the causes and prevalence of visual impairment and blindness helps us learn where our support is needed.
About our in-house research team

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Infectious diseases

People in Kenya are at a high risk of neglected tropical diseases.

The infectious disease trachoma is endemic in 12 counties across the country, putting thousands of people at risk of losing their sight. Our work on neglected tropical diseases in Kenya focuses on treating and preventing trachoma.

A volunteer wearing a colourful neckpiece and a blue tabbard shines a torch into a boy's eyes to check for signs of eye disease. They're sitting outside under a tree as the boy's mother looks on.

How we’re tackling disease in Kenya

Rural outreach

Our eye care staff travel long distances to remote communities around the country to check and treat people for signs of trachoma.
Meet trachoma surgeon Samson

Training volunteers

We train local volunteers to distribute medication in their communities, check people for eye disease and refer them for treatment where needed.
Learn about community volunteers

Hygiene programmes

Children at schools in Kenya are learning about the importance of good hygiene in tackling infectious diseases.
How we’re teaching kids about hygiene through interactive games

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Inclusion and equality

Not everyone in Kenya has equal opportunities.

Many children with disabilities aren’t able to go to school to gain an education, while young adults with disabilities may struggle to find training and employment. Our charity work on disability rights in Kenya focuses on improving education and employment opportunities for everyone.

A classroom in Kenya, where a teacher shows a flashcard with the number three on it to students seated around a table.

Our inclusion work in Kenya

Inclusive education

Sightsavers works with local governments, schools and parents to make schools more inclusive.
How we’re ensuring young children get the support they need to excel

Employment and training

Programmes like the IT Bridge Academy in Nairobi offer skills training and paid internships with top companies for young adults with disabilities. Meet the students

Collecting inclusive data

We’re supporting the Kenyan government to collect high-quality data that accurately represents people with disabilities and the issues they face.
Why inclusive data matters

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Nicodemus smiles broadly.

“I’ve always had this dream, but I didn’t have the opportunity. Sightsavers’ academy opened a gateway to my career. Now I’m an IT specialist.”

Nicodemus smiles broadly.
Nicodemus, who graduated from the IT Bridge Academy for students with disabilities

How you can help

Our work in Kenya is helping to improve health care for everyone, but there’s still more we need to do.

With your support, we want to train more eye care staff, protect people from infectious diseases like trachoma and ensure everyone has the opportunity to achieve their potential. To do this, we need your help.

Charity donations, legacies, corporate partnerships and gifts from charitable foundations are a vital source of funding for our programmes in Kenya. We also welcome opportunities to work in partnership with governments, institutions and development organisations.


Contact us: If you have any questions about our work in Kenya, would like more information about our programmes or wish to discuss ways you can donate or support us, email [email protected]

Latest stories from Kenya

Lanoi stands outside and smiles with her hands on top of her head. She looks off to the right.
Sightsavers Reports

Our sights are set on eliminating trachoma in Kenya

Ophthalmic nurse Jeremiah Gwafa was first inspired to work in eye health as a child, after seeing the impact of blindness on his own family.

Two people in traditional clothing stand outside in remote Turkana, Kenya.
sightsavers_news

Sightsavers Kenya celebrates 70-year anniversary

Sightsavers began working in Kenya in 1952, when blindness affected up to 7% of rural Kenyans.

May 2023
Veronica Stapleton.
Sightsavers blog

Making assessments more accessible for children with disabilities

How an evaluation tool to assess children’s development has been adapted for young children with disabilities in Kenya.

Veronica Stapleton, February 2023
A teacher in Nigeria outs her arm on a student's shoulders as they stand at the blackboard.
Sightsavers from the field

Transforming education for every child in Kenya and Nigeria

In Nigeria and Kenya, two innovative education projects are enabling children with disabilities to reach their potential.

February 2023
Two young people hold up flip charts on the wall as part of a training programme in Kenya.
Sightsavers Reports

We are… training young people with disabilities

We’re working with partners in Kenya to give young people the skills and practical experience they need to begin a career in IT.

Samson Lokele in Kenya.
Sightsavers Reports

“I was the first trachoma surgeon in my region”

Meet Samson, a trachoma surgeon who’s saving people’s sight by performing pop-up operations and outreach in remote communities in Kenya.

Discover where Sightsavers works in Africa and Asia

Where we work