Kenya has known relative political, economic and social stability over the past several decades. As a result, it has become a safe haven for persons fleeing war and civil unrest in some of the neighboring nations, and serves as a base for scores of non-governmental organizations working in the region. For the most part, infrastructure and resources have been sufficient to deal with the waves of refugees seeking both immediate and longer-term shelter.
The DWS Kenya program began as a liaison office in the port city of Mombasa in 1973, providing logistical support for relief activities in Southern Sudan. Work in the country itself started in 1992 with management of the Kakuma Refugee Camp in the northwest. While the Kenya and Sudan programs were run jointly up until early 2008, the former currently provides support to the latter as it establishes an in-country office.
The mission of DWS Kenya is to address the causes and consequences of human suffering and poverty among vulnerable populations in Kenya through active partnership with local communities and organizations. The program has primarily focused on refugee assistance in emergency situations but is expanding to include longer-term development projects. These projects emphasize a rights-based approach and involvement of the community in planning, implementation and monitoring.
Kakuma Refugee Camp
DWS Kenya manages the Kakuma Refugee Camp and serves as a lead agency role under a tripartite agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Kenyan government. The camp is now home to over 51,000 refugees—mainly from Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia—reflecting the complex insecurity realities of the region.
The current program has two components: services and maintenance of the camp itself, and repatriation. The first component entails management of food distribution, water supply, education, community services and camp security. With regard to repatriation, LWF has mobilized over 6,000 Sudanese returnees by providing basic information, running a departure center and supplying warm clothing.
Recognizing that the Kakuma camp cannot exist in isolation, DWS Kenya has been giving increased attention to the host Turkana community around the camp. The relief and rehabilitation project strives to address the negative impacts of drought and insecurity among the local populations, including those residing in areas bordering Sudan to the north and Uganda to the west. At the core of the Turkana assistance program are peace building, conflict resolution, water access and income-generation activities.
Dadaab Refugee Camp
As a result of its successful management of Kakuma camp, DWS Kenya was asked to oversee refugee camps in Dadaab, northeastern Kenya. LWF is responsible for overall camp management: implementation of camp planning and layout, reception and assistance to new arrivals, community policing and promotion of community self-management. Dadaab is home to over 230,000 refugees, primarily fleeing war and insecurity in Somalia.
For further information please contact:
Mr Michael Hyden, Program Officer
Mr Lennart Hernander, Country Representative