Kenya

Country Facts

DRC present since:

2005

Staff on location:

141

Displaced population:

656,585

Displacement situation 

Kenya hosts a large population of refugees and asylum seekers fleeing conflict in neighbouring countries, and has done so for many years. As of 2020, the majority of people fleeing to Kenya are from Somalia (53.7%) and South Sudan (24.7%), with smaller numbers from DR Congo, Ethiopia, and Burundi. Kenya also counts 162,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), forced from their homes by conflict and violence, primarily connected to post-election violence in 2007-8.

Refugees and asylum seekers in Kenya mostly live in either the Dadaab refugee camp in the northeast or the neighbouring Kakuma refugee camp and Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement in the northwest. As of March 2020, Dadaab was home to 217,511 registered refugees and asylum seekers, primarily from Somalia, while Kakuma and Kalobeyei host 196,050 refugees, primarily from South Sudan.

Employment and livelihoods are a major issue among refugees and asylum seekers in Kenya, and those who are involved in entrepreneurial activities, even informal ones, are subject to many limitations, restricting them to the immediate environs of the camp in which they are registered.

Ongoing or resurgent insecurity in their countries of origin presents further complications for some refugees and asylum seekers. Some who had voluntarily resettled in Somalia have begun returning to Dadaab, but they are unable to re-register as refugees. As such these ‘asylum seeker returnees’ are unable to access many essential services and are entirely reliant on fellow refugees for support.

DRC’s response 

DRC works in the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps (including Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement), as well as with refugees living outside of camps in urban settings, namely Nairobi.

At Dadaab, DRC is one of UNHCR’s strategic partners in implementing livelihoods and protection projects. These include academic and vocational scholarships for young students, savings and loan groups, market value-chain development, small enterprise development, and Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV) prevention and response interventions.

In Kakuma and Kalobeyei, DRC is UNHCR’s lead partner, operating protection initiatives for vulnerable refugees and empowerment projects for women, girls, and young people.

In the cities, DRC works with individuals to provide protection against violence and human rights violations, and to encourage self-reliance through livelihood support initiatives.

DRC also leads a multi-agency livelihoods initiative2 with funding from the EU under the Trust Fund for the Horn of Africa, which works to enhance self-reliance for refugees and host communities in Garissa County.