More education scholarships for refugees in Kenya

On 8th July, 2015, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Mount Kenya University (MKU) to support refugee youth with education scholarships to pursue various certificate, diploma and degree courses. Under this partnership, DRC will be able to support 80 refugees to enroll into MKU.

Access to higher education for many refugees in Kenya has remained an elusive dream due to a number of reasons - key among them being the high cost of higher education and lack of appropriate documentation to facilitate enrollment of refugees into various institutions of higher learning.

“The MoU spells out the framework of cooperation and responsibilities between DRC and Mount Kenya University. It also affirms our continued partnership which will go a long way in assisting refugees to realize their dreams of accessing higher education and improving their livelihoods,” said David Kang’ethe, DRC Kenya Country Director during the signing ceremony of the MoU.

The refugee students enrolled under this framework of cooperation will be drawn from Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps where DRC is implementing livelihoods and self-reliance programmes. The scholarship awarded to the refugee students will cover their tuition fees and upkeep costs while enrolled at the university.

“By offering these educational scholarships and other vocational training opportunities, DRC aims to build the capacity and self-reliance of refugees so as to reduce their vulnerability while in displacement. We also hope that through this assistance, the refugee students can be prepared for eventual return to their countries of origin when conditions are safe for their voluntary return,” continued David Kang’ethe.

DRC usually runs an open scholarship application process where refugees who have completed their primary and secondary education are invited to apply for the available opportunities. Scholarships for vocational courses are available for those that have completed their primary education while professional courses scholarships are for those done with secondary education. The successful students are then provided with career guidance and counseling as part of their preparation to joining university or vocational training institutions.

“This helps them to make informed choices on the courses they choose while enrolling at university or vocational training institution. It also equips them with life skills on decision making and personal etiquette which is helpful to facilitate their smooth integration into the campus life as they interact with other students,” explained Sheikh Maro, DRC’s Team Leader, Scholarships and Training based in Dadaab.

DRC has also signed a similar MoU with Kenyatta University, which has a satellite campus in Dadaab as well as with other vocational training institutions such as Kenya Institute of Social Work and Community Development as well as the North Coast Medical Training College in Mombasa. In 2014, a total of 2,047 refugee students benefited from the DRC Kenya scholarship program and some of these students have successfully found employment as incentive workers for humanitarian agencies based in Dadaab.

The MoU signing ceremony was attended by MKU’s Vice Chancellor (Prof. Stanley Waudo), the Deputy Vice Chancellor – Linkages and Resource Mobilisation (Prof. John Nderitu) as well as few other staff from DRC Kenya office and MKU’s Department of Linkages and Resource Mobilisation.
DRC has been operational in Dadaab since 2010 and has been implementing WASH, livelihood and protection interventions in the refugee camps within Dadaab.