Hundreds of the Kenyans living on the streets have at least degree and postgraduate qualifications- the first-ever census of street families shows. The census was conducted across the country in 2018 by the Ministry of Labour with assistance from the Unicef.
Half of the number of those with degree certificates sleep on the streets while a third only come every morning to scavenge, beg and look for jobs. Some are university students with no accommodation. They join homeless families on streets after classes.
The census, released last week, shows nine people with post-graduate qualifications from Samburu live in the streets.
Figures show 76 per cent of the street persons in Kenya have sat the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education while 14 per cent have at least Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education.
Most of those with degree certificates said they live in the streets because they fear being reprimanded, corporal punishment, and domestic violence.
“Those with postgraduate education cited insecurity as their main reason for going to the streets,” the study says.
Kericho has the highest number of graduates living in the streets, followed by Kajiado, Nyandarua, Makueni, Nairobi, Tharaka Nithi and Nakuru.
“The census was the first of its kind to be conducted in the country,” said Labour Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui.
Chelugui said they counted all those permanently and temporarily living on the streets. The CS said their deplorable health was of concern.
“Street families continuously face many challenges including premature deaths orchestrated through mob injustice, malnutrition, inadequate healthcare and exposure to substance abuse,” he said.
At 46,639 people, the population of Kenyans living on streets is much lower than previous estimates of more than 200,000 people.
The report shows 74.2 per cent of street persons are males and the majority (21,550 people) are youth aged between 19 and 34.
A third of all (15,752) are children aged below 19.
The counties with the highest concentration of street people are Nairobi (15,337), Mombasa (7,529), Kisumu (2,746), Uasin Gishu (2,147) and Nakuru (2,005).
Chelugui said the ministry will use the data to develop the National Street Families Bill and a new Street Families Trust Fund strategic plan.