In 2015, Kenya hosted the seventh largest number of refugees globally with a refugee population of more than 593,000, the majority of whom are in Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps, which have been operating for over 20 years. However, refugees have limited options in terms of durable solutions. Refugees are largely dependent on humanitarian assistance from the UNHCR and other agencies operating in the camps.
Kakuma Refugee camp is home to about 193,827 refugees from South Sudan, Sudan, Rwanda, Angola, Burundi among other war torn African countries. About 41% of these refugees are young people who were displaced from their countries at their most productive ages.
Livelihood opportunities for the refugees are limited; particularly as their literacy and numeracy skills are low. According to the findings of a rapid market assessment and commodity value chain analysis in Kakuma, 75% of female respondents and 57% of male respondents are unemployed. Further refugees have limited access to external markets, lack skills and capital to start businesses.
The host community, who have traditionally been reliant on pastoralism, are now almost totally dependent on the refugee camp for income. They engage in menial jobs for the refugees and sell charcoal and firewood in the camp.
In an effort to renew their purpose in life and give them back their humanity, the UKAID funded SPARK* program, among other initiatives provides Vocational Skills training to the Refugees & Host community through the consortium partners including Action Africa Help International (AAHI). *Support Protection and Assistance of Refugees in Kenya program
The SPARK livelihood strategy seeks to promote self-reliance among the target beneficiaries witnessed through increased income facilitated through accelerated production and linkages with financial institutions enabling market access thereby improving resilience of the host and refugee communities in Kakuma and Kalobeyei, Turkana West Sub-County, Turkana County, Kenya’ with target beneficiaries being 87, 702 individuals.
Leveraging Kuza’s Digital Micro Learning Platform, Kuza in partnership with AAHI designed & implemented a program to train & mentor the Vocational graduates to encourage them build a business model around their vocational skills. The program leverages Kuza Digital Offline Kit to support the intervention in remote, off-grid locations to deliver seamless learning experience to the refugees & the host community. The multi lingual learning experience caters to the diverse needs & language requirements to run the program in French, Arabic, English & Swahili.
Having a digital solution that provides entrepreneurship training to refugee communities living in Kakuma Refugee Camp is very beneficial,. Accessing the digital training without the need for Internet is a welcome innovation and I believe there is so much more we can build on the platform.