Read caption Photo: Christian Jepsen/NRC

NRC in Kenya

People escaping war and conflict seek refuge in Kenya. NRC is on the ground, assisting them.


A total of


people in need received our assistance in 2017.


Humanitarian overview

Kenya hosts more than 480,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers in the two camps Kakuma and Dadaab, and in urban areas. Most of the refugees are from Somalia and South Sudan. Some have lived in Kenya for decades, while many fled to Kenya during the 2010 drought and the civil war in South Sudan. Freedom of movement is constrained in the camps and livelihood and working opportunities are limited.  

It’s becoming difficult to seek refuge in Kenya. Somali citizens no longer automatically receiverefugee status. In 2016, the Kenyan government announced that Dadaab was to close, but this was blocked by the High Court in 2017.   

Internal displacement in Kenya is often overshadowed by the refugee situation. Kenyans have been internally displaced by droughts, food insecurity and floods, and ethnic conflicts. Violence following presidential elections in 2007 displaced 650,000 people. The elections in 2017 were generally peaceful.  


People we helped in Kenya in 2017

people benefited from our education programme
people benefited from our food security programme
people benefited from our ICLA programme
people benefited from our WASH programme


NRC's operation

We assist displaced people in refugee camps and other settings in Kenya, with a main focus on the arid counties in the north. 

Despite drought and hunger in Somalia, there is still pressure on Somali refugees to return home. We are concerned that Somalis returning through the Voluntary Repatriation Programme risk becoming internally displaced in Somalia or forced to return to Kenya. We work together with our country operation in Somalia to advocate for genuine returns, and to help them make informed choices to ensure that they return safely. 


NRC EducationEducation


We provide displaced and vulnerable children and youth with basic education in Dadaab and Kakuma. Our education teams:

  • provide vocational training where students receive professional certification in trades like motor vehicle mechanics, computer skills, hairdressing and carpentry
  • make sure that children and youth who have missed out on education can catch up with their peers, through accelerated learning and youth programmes
  • provide children and teachers with learning and teaching materials
  • conduct continuous teacher professional development


NRC Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)


Displaced people often need guidance to navigate legal frameworks. We:

  • help displaced people to understand their rights and provide them with one-on-one legal consultation
  • assist displaced people to access civil documentation such as birth, marriage and death certificates
  • promote housing, land and property rights for refugees in camps to support wider protection and self-reliance strategies
  • work together with NRC Somalia and provide refugees with information about living conditions in their home countries and inform them about the voluntary repatriation process
  • collaborate with government and humanitarian partners to ensure that the legal framework of the country serves to protect displaced people in the long-term


NRC Livelihoods and food securityLivelihoods and food security


We strive to improve peoples' living conditions and access to food and livelihood opportunities. We:

  • provide graduates from our vocational training courses business training and start- up packages that enable them to start their own businesses
  • help displaced people to access markets and market chains with their skills and produce
  • and establish digital platforms that help producers sell their products
  • help refugees and surrounding host community to form community groups and obtain business licenses
  • provide food and household items to refugees in Kakuma and Dadaab
  • distribute food and food vouchers
  • provide lunches to school children to improve their nutrition


NRC Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion


We improve access to safe and sufficient water and sanitation facilities, and promote hygiene awareness in Kakuma and Kalobeyei.


  • provide clean and chlorinated water
  • conduct water quality monitoring activities
  • drill and equip new boreholes
  • construct and maintain water infrastructure
  • provide latrine cleaning kits
  • conduct Internal Residual Spraying for vector (malaria and other scrolling insects)
  • provide materials and labour for construction of household latrine superstructures


​NRC Kenya is grateful for the generous support from our donors:
  • United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
  • Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
  • Swedish International Development Aid (Sida)
  • European Civil protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
  • European Union (EU)
  • Department for International Development (DFID)
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands

About NRC in (country)

International staff
Areas of operation
Nairobi (Country office), Dadaab, Kakuma, Mandera.
Budget 2017
USD 116 Million
National staff

NRC in Kenya

Country Director

Neil Turner


+254 (20) 26 49 204