Supporting refugees and host communities in Kenya

Project description

Title: Support to refugees 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 conflicts in South Sudan, Somalia and other countries of the region, the number of refugees in Kenya has now risen to approximately half a million. The refugees are not permitted to pursue 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.

As a result of the continued influx of refugees especially from South Sudan into the region in June 2015, the Kenyan Government allocated space for a new refugee settlement, 40 km from the town of Kakuma in a nearby location, called Kalobeyei.

The local population in the two main host areas Kakuma and Dadaab is very poor. Due to food shortages, insufficient basic services and uneven income opportunities, the living conditions are insecure, both for the refugees and for the local people. As a result, conflicts are common. 

Together with partners, the Government of Kenya developed the Kalobeyei Integrated Social and Economic Development Programme in line with the provisions of the County Integrated Development Plan 2018-2022. This programme promotes self-reliance of the refugees and host communities by enhancing livelihood opportunities and by reducing dependence on humanitarian aid and support. This is in line with the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework to which the country subscribes.


Living conditions have improved for refugees 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 equally target the refugees and the local population in the areas in and around the refugee camps of Kakuma and Dadaab. These focus on private sector and entrepreneurship interventions for refugees and host community members, as well as improving the nutrition, providing better medical care and access to water and sanitation as well as offering activities to improve peaceful conflict solutions. Among other partners, the project cooperates with Don Bosco Development Outreach Network, St. Clare Training Institute, Xavier Project and the Danish Refugee Council, implementing projects throughout the Turkana West Sub-county.

Moreover, 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 vegetable gardens in the refugee camps and the host community. Refugees and local residents can improve their incomes thanks to cash-for-work measures.

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. 


  • More than 900 people have increased their employability
  • Four community/ youth centres have access to internet, training and e-employment
  • A modular manual for teaching life skills has been developed
  • 3,400 people engaged in poultry rearing and established stalls to sell animal products
  • 1,200 pupils learned production, processing and marketing of nutritious foods in school gardens
  • A competency-based training manual for fodder production has been developed
  • Support to livestock vaccination campaigns and locust control is provided
  • 4,000 youth engaged in two ‘end-early marriages’ campaigns through role playing, songs and poems
  • More than 1,600 children participated in peer mediation trainings and mediate conflicts in their everyday lives
  • Seven joint dialogue forums have been initiated
Kenya. School pupils work in a school garden in Kakuma refugee camp. © GIZ / Alex Kamweru
  • A participatory mediation handbook has been developed to train peer mediators
  • Mobile health clinics reached more than 30,000 sick people in hard-to-reach areas
  • Specialist care (e.g. ENT and eye specialists) with over 5,500 medical treatments provided
  • 288 health care workers were trained in malnutrition treatment
  • Medical equipment and material was distributed to health facilities
  • Construction of one paediatric and female ward in the new hospital in Kakuma camp
  • Solarisation of one borehole and provision of one generator embedded in existing water management structures

Additional information