Humanitarian and political background
Kenya is hosting close to 600,000 refugees and asylum seekers in the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps, as well as in urban areas. The majority (over 400,000) are Somali, displaced either during the collapse of the Somali state in the early ‘90s, or more recently because of drought.
In late 2013, conflict in South Sudan led to a rise of South Sudanese refugees in Kenya, which had until then been in decline. Currently, over 100,000 South Sudanese refugees reside in Kenya, most of them in Kakuma. Others are from Ethiopia and the DR Congo. The recent conflict in Burundi has also led to an increase of asylum seekers.
UNHCR, the National Government, the County Government of Turkana and the host community have agreed to relieve pressure on Kakuma camps with a new settlement in Kalobeyei, where refugees share services, with the host communities.
NRC has provided assistance in Kenya since 2007.
Kenyans displaced by climate and conflict
While there are no official or up-to-date figures on internal displacement in Kenya, violence following the election in 2007-2008 displaced 50,000 Kenyan nationals inside the country. In total, around 300,000 people fled the conflict, settling in urban areas.
In February 2016, the government announced that all households who had been displaced after the election have now been resettled. However, inter-communal conflict has affected the north Rift Valley and the country's northeastern regions, with over 200,000 people displaced.
Kenya faces recurrent drought, disease, malnutrition and food insecurity. It also experiences inter-communal conflicts over resources. While categorised as a lower middle-income country with social and economic development, pockets of the country are susceptible to shocks.
Here in these pockets, highly vulnerable refugees and host communities are in need of humanitarian assistance. They often live in arid and semi-arid lands and insecure areas, particularly along borders.
Intention to close the refugee camps
In November 2013, UNHCR, Kenya and Somalia signed a Tripartite Agreement. This legal framework provides for the safe and dignified voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees from Kenya, as well as their reintegration in Somalia.
However, following the growth of terrorist cells and several attacks in the country, there has been political pressure to return refugees in Kenya to their country of origin. In May 2016, the government announced that their refugee affairs department will be disbanded, and that they intend to close Dadaab, the world's largest refugee camp.
In November 2016, the Kenya government delayed the closure of Dadaab refugee camp by six months following calls by the international community worried about the protection of the refugees. The closure of the camp are now planned for May 2017 and the government plans to roll out a comprehensive repatriation programme from December 2016.
People we helped in Kenya in 2015
NRC in Kenya
NRC helps refugees and internally displaced people in Kenya's camps access clean water, food, education, and shelter, and helps them exercise their rights.
We provide basic quality education to displaced children and youth, and tailored programmes for those who have missed out on school.
Our education activities:
- Provide children and youth with literacy, numeracy and vocational skills.
- Make sure out-of-school children and youth can catch up to their peers, through Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP) and Youth Education Pack (YEP).
- Encourage girls to continue their education.
The training that I acquired from [NRC's youth] programme helped me to reach my dream career as a journalist.
Kin Abdi (25) took a journalism course at the Dadaab Youth Education Centre. Thanks to her determination, she got a job as a radio presenter and now has one of the most popular radio shows in the camp.
NRC distributes food and food vouchers to people affected by displacement.
In our work for food security, we:
- Distribute food provided by the World Food Programme (WFP).
- Provide cash transfers to promote livelihood recovery.
- Train people in business management and development, supporting them to improve their livelihoods.
To ensure safety and dignity for people forced to flee, we construct temporary shelters and conduct renovations. We also repair existing shelters in camps.
Through our shelter activities, we:
- Construct and renovate classrooms.
- Provide shelter materials.
- Provide tailored training to beneficiaries on shelter construction
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)
NRC provides Somali refugees in Dadaab and Kakuma with information and counselling, and assists them in returning voluntarily and safely to Somalia. NRC also implements ICLA activities to assist the internally displaced population in Mandera, with an emphasis on access to housing, land and property rights and civil documentation.
Through our ICLA activities, we:
- Run the return help desks in Dadaab camp, together with UNHCR and Kenyan authorities.
- Advocate for safe, voluntary and dignified returns.
- Gather information on which areas are safe to return to, and share it with Somali refugees planning to return.
- Provide information, counselling and legal assistance on how to access housing, land and property rights and civil documentation, and training on how to resolve land disputes through collaborative dispute resolution.
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)
Water is a human right. Access to clean water and sanitation can save lives and reduce the risk of disease. Providing life-saving assistance, NRC develops infrastructure, treats water, constructs latrines, manages waste, and runs hygiene awareness campaigns.
Our WASH teams work to:
- Facilitate access to clean water and latrines.
- Reduce mortality.
- Raise hygiene awareness.
NRC joins 13 agencies in urgent call to action for worsening Horn of Africa drought crisis
Recent drought in the Horn of Africa has led to an urgent food and water crisis. More than 15 million people in parts of Somalia, southeast Ethiopia, and north and east Kenya are in need of emergency aid due to the failure of the 2016 October - December rains in the region.
Somalian Habiba challenges old prejudices
“What men can do, women can do even better,” says Habiba (22). She is one of very few women who study electrical installation at The Norwegian Refugee Council's (NRC) vocational school in the refugee camp Kakuma in Kenya.