Poverty and acute vulnerability due to climate change, and political and social tensions, are heavy challenges currently facing Kenya. The country was shaken by post-election ethnic violence in 2007, by the impact of rising fuel and food prices, and by the worst drought in 60 years in 2011. Corruption remains a serious problem marring aid efforts.

As the country moves ahead, the prosecution of crimes against humanity that allegedly took place in 2007 will be key; several prominent Kenyans stand accused of inciting the violence.

Other pressing problems include high unemployment, crime and poverty; most Kenyans live below the poverty line, and there are wide regional disparities, with the north and east among the poorest regions and most vulnerable to climate change. The number of Kenyans affected by drought declined to 2.2 million in 2012 from a peak of over 3.7 million during the Horn of Africa drought in 2011.

In common with other African countries, AIDS poses a serious problem, although HIV prevalence fell from about 14% in the mid-1990s to 5% in 2006, rising again to 6.3% by 2009. There are an estimated 1,500,000 people living with HIV in Kenya and some 1,200,000 children orphaned due to AIDS.

Kenya is the headquarters of the Eastern Africa Jesuit Province, which CJI works in partnership with. The province covers six countries in the region. The coordinating base of the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN), and other established Jesuit projects, are in Nairobi, which is also home to Nyumbani, a foundation that runs several programs to care for HIV-positive orphans.