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, and in 2018 new arrivals were again recorded. 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 receive refugee 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, as well as 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
We assist displaced people in refugee camps, the surrounding host communities in Garissa and Turkana.
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.
We provide displaced and vulnerable children and youth with basic education in Dadaab and Kakuma. Our education teams in both refugee and host community schools:
- provide vocational training where students receive professional certification in trades like computer skills, journalism, media and photography, electrical and solar installation, hairdressing and beauty therapy and tailoring and dress making.
- 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
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
- support refugees and vulnerable host community to register their business and formalise community groups with local authorities
- 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
Livelihoods and food security
We strive to improve peoples' living conditions and access to livelihood opportunities. We:
- provide beneficiaries with higher skills in marketable value chains and increase their basic literacy and numeracy
- provide graduates from vocational training courses business training, grants start- up packages and multiple services including mentorships and career guidance
- provide tailored advanced training for youth refugees in partnership with social enterprises in pre-identified value chains to access jobs and self-employment
- help refugees and surrounding host community to form community groups and obtain business licenses and access to loans and credits
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. We:
- provide clean and chlorinated water
- conduct water quality monitoring activities
- drill and equip new boreholes with solar power
- construct and maintain water infrastructure
- provide latrine cleaning kits
- provide materials and labour for construction of household latrine superstructures
- 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)
- Porticus Foundation
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands
About NRC in (country)
Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania shut refugee programmes as Europe and US reject migrants
As western governments reduce funding for refugees in East Africa, aid programmes are being forced to shut down, leaving refugees in crisis.
Nearly impossible to close Dadaab
It has proven nearly impossible for the Kenyan government to quickly close the third largest refugee camp in the world. Meanwhile, fewer people have chosen to return to Somalia so far in 2018, compounding the issue.
The Green Mountain Engineers
Abdul, 34, was born in the Darfur area of Sudan to a family of nine. After his two brothers were killed and his remaining family was taken captive by the area’s militia, he fled to the capital of South Sudan, Juba. When war broke out in 2013, he fled once again, this time to Kenya.