Kenya cracks down on foreign NGO workers, citing wage disparity

Thousands of foreign nongovernmental organization workers in Kenya risk losing their jobs after the NGO Board announced a tightening of employment rules late last month. Organizations fear that the move could affect their work in the country, and many have accused the Kenyan government of scare tactics and inflammatory rhetoric.

The board, a government institution that is responsible for regulating the NGO sector in Kenya, claims that there are thousands of expats working without appropriate permits and cites the large wage disparity between locals and foreigners as one of the main reasons behind the tougher stance.

Feelings of unfair treatment in the workplace are common among Kenyan NGO employees – and not without reason. The humanitarian and development sectors are known for their differential treatment of expats and locals, with the latter receiving fewer benefits and considerably lower salaries compared to their foreign colleagues.