Support to refugees, especially voluntary returnees, and host communities

Project description

Title: Support to refugees, especially voluntary returnees, and host communities in Kenya
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Special Initiative ‘Tackling the root causes of displacement – reintegrating refugees’
Country: Kenya
Lead executing agency: Refugee Affairs Secretariat (Ministry of Interior & Coordination of National Government), Kenya
Overall term: 2015 to 2022

Kenya. Even in remote areas, members of the host community benefit from medical examinations. © GIZ / Alex Kamweru


As a result of violent conflict in South Sudan, Somalia and other countries of the region, the number of refugees in Kenya has now risen to over half a million. The refugees are not permitted to pursue any employment or agricultural activities outside the refugee camps. As such, they have developed little self-sufficiency or capacity for reintegration back in their home countries.

The local population is also very poor. Due to shortages in food and basic services, above all water and health, living conditions are insecure, both for the refugees and for the local people, in the main host areas of Kakuma and Dadaab. As a result, conflicts are common. Refugees who would be able to return to their home countries, and who are interested in returning, are inadequately prepared to start a life there.


Living conditions have improved for refugees, especially those willing to return home, as well as for the local people of Turkana West (Kakuma) and Garissa County (Dadaab).

Kenya. Young refugees and members of the host community learn methods of mediation and peaceful conflict transformation. © GIZ / Alex Kamweru


The project measures are targeted equally at the refugees and the local population in the areas in and around the refugee camps of Kakuma and Dadaab. This applies to employment-oriented training for refugees willing to return, as well as food security measures, improved medical care, and peaceful conflict transformation activities. Among other partners, the project cooperates with AMREF, the largest African non-governmental organisation in the health sector, as well as the International Rescue Committee and the German Johanniter Unfall-Hilfe (St John’s Accident Assistance).

The project supports the provision of mobile health services for the semi-nomadic people of the host community as well as medical services in the refugee camps. Refugees and members of the host community attend training courses to acquire useful skills for potential employment. They receive advice on agricultural growing methods, for example through the cultivation of school gardens in the refugee camps. Refugees and local residents can improve their incomes thanks to cash-for-work measures. In addition, both groups benefit from improved access to water and sanitation, while young people learn to solve conflicts without violence in interactive workshops in schools.

This project is part of the special initiative ‘Tackling the root causes of displacement, reintegrating refugees’. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) runs this initiative to provide funds at short notice to support refugees and their host communities. In the longer term, sustainable measures reduce the structural causes of displacement such as social inequality and food insecurity. This project is contributing to improved living conditions for refugees, above all those who would like to return home, as well as for the people of the host communities in Kenya.


More than 40,000 patients, some of them in very remote areas, have benefited from mobile health services and interventions by specialist doctors. 141 local health employees have received training on how to treat malnutrition and under-nutrition in infants as well as pregnant and breast-feeding mothers. The new construction in the camps of a centre for women and children, the renovation of health centres, pharmacies and warehousing for nutritional supplements, and the provision of medicines and medical instruments have all served to improve the medical infrastructure. The mission hospital in Kakuma also benefited from the support of a German doctor.

Refugees and members of the host communities receive training in innovative cultivation methods as a means of improving their self-sufficiency, and 20 school gardens have been established in the refugee camps. Approximately 1,045 people in agricultural production and marketing groups, 47 per cent of them women, have profited from the restoration of wells. Cash-for-work measures, which enable people to earn supplementary income, have so far contributed to improving basic service provision to 846 households. The installation of 99 solar street lamps in the camps and surrounding area have made it possible to extend the hours of business, while also raising the level of security.

Kenya. School pupils work in a school garden in Kakuma refugee camp. © GIZ / Alex Kamweru

Under the capacity development measures for peaceful conflict transformation, existing local negotiation structures were strengthened and complemented by new dialogue forums. In interactive workshops in schools, 1,416 young people learned about the basic principles of mediation and peaceful conflict resolution.


Further information