Rusinga Island Community

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Rusinga Island Community

Rusinga Island, located on Lake Victoria, Kenya, is less than 100km south of the Equator. It is 46 square kilometers and has a highly dense population of 35,000 people. The population has expanded rapidly over the past 30 years. Rusinga Island is one of the poorest areas in Kenya with over 50% of the population in extreme poverty. It is estimated that 34% of the population on the island has HIV/AIDS, one of the highest in Kenya. The numbers of AIDS orphans in the community, continues to rise due to lack in availability and affordability of medicine.

The lake, the only source of water, is used for washing clothes, bathing and drinking and is shared with a large number of wild and domestic animals. Malaria and typhoid are common due to its location. Most residents of Rusinga make their living from subsistence agriculture, as well as fishing. Competition for resources has led to deforestation which has led to soil erosion and drought conditions. Over grazing, deforestation, droughts, mono-cropping and depletion of fish stocks in the lake all contribute to environmental degradation and poverty. Food, water and nutritional insecurity along with HIV/AIDS and malaria is predominant throughout the island.