Kenya hosts more than 400,000 registered refugees and asylum seekers in the two camps Kakuma and Dadaab, as well as 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 increasingly 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. In 2019 there were renewed calls for the closure of Dadaab but to date this has not materialised.
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. The present situation in Arid and Semi-Arid Land counties across Kenya remains precarious due to another round of drought.
People we helped in Kenya in 2019
We assist displaced people in refugee camps and the surrounding host communities in Garissa and Turkana counties.
Despite insecurity 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 are forced to return to Kenya. We work together with our country operation in Somalia to advocate for genuine returns, and to help refugees make informed choices to ensure that they return safely and with dignity to a genuine opportunity to re-establish their livelihoods.
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 materials
- conduct continuous professional development for teachers
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)
We ensure that vulnerable displacement-affected populations are able to exercise their rights and achieve durable solutions. 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 members to register their businesses and formalise community groups with local authorities
- work together with NRC Somalia to 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 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 with 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 communities to form community groups and obtain business licences 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 Office of the High Commissioner 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
- Innovation Norway
- UN Habitat
- Grundfos (Poul Due Jensen Foundation)
- Water Sector Trust Fund
- US State Department (PRM)
- Open Society Foundation (OSF)
About NRC in Kenya
Locust plague spells catastrophe for millions living in underfunded East Africa
Grossly underfunded humanitarian responses across East Africa are tipping towards breaking point as a result of the recent desert locust invasion.
How local radio boosts climate change adaptation
In the Horn of Africa, local radio stations provide updates on entertainment, sports and health, so why not weather and climate too?