Started Working in Kenya
Direct Beneficiaries & Program Participants
39% Female Participants
(Women & Girls)
Indirect Beneficiaries & Program Participants
Since 2004, RET has directly supported more than 36,000 direct participants, 39% are women, and indirectly benefitted more than 400,000 beneficiaries throughout 13 projects focused on Agricultural & Rural Development, Self-Reliance and Social Economic Strengthening, Peace-building & Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention & Violent Extremism, Family and Community Gardening and Husbandry, Vocational and Technical Education, including Digital Literacy.
The Situation in Kenya
Conflicts in Kenya’s neighboring countries, like Somalia, and Sudan, have led displaced populations to find protection in Kenya’s refugee camps and urban areas. In both settings, young refugees lack the opportunities to further their education or find employment.
The majority of refugees and asylum seekers in Kenya originate from Somalia (53.9%). Other significant nationalities are South Sudanese (24.7%), Congolese (9%), Ethiopians (5.8%). Persons of concern from Sudan, Rwanda, Eritrea, Burundi, Uganda, and others. As per UNHCR, almost half of the refugees in Kenya (44%) reside in Dadaab, 40% in Kakuma, and 16% in urban areas (mainly Nairobi), alongside 18,500 stateless persons. Young people are left with few skills to enable themselves and put them at risk of criminal activities, armed groups, and terrorist groups or fall victim to sexual and drug abuse.
In 2004, RET started operation in Kakuma Refugee Camp, and in 2012, RET expanded its operations to reach the most vulnerable in the Dadaab refugee camp, namely in 5 camps in Dadaab (Dagahaley, Ifo1, Ifo2,Kambioos and Hagadera). To date, RET continues its operations in Kakuma refugee Camp, supporting particular South Sudanese and Somalis adolescents and youth living in Kakuma by Bridging the Digital Divide gap to Develop Livelihoods.
RET started operations in the Kakuma refugee camp in 2004, using education in exile to prepare Sudanese refugee youth for repatriation and reintegration. RET implemented projects to improve the camp’s secondary schools by providing urgently needed repairs and equipment to enhance the students’ access to resources and improve the teachers’ performances in guiding the teaching and learning process (especially in HIV/AIDS education).
RET has been present in the Dadaab refugee camps since 2012 to build resilience among Somali refugee youth, through the provision of alternative education, livelihoods for self-reliance, and capacity building, to become agents of positive social change. The program targeted young people across five camps in Dadaab (Dagahaley, Ifo1, Ifo2, Kambioos and Hagadera) and the host community. Five hundred and nighty-nine learners (22% female, which is an achievement considering the strong patriarchal social structures of Somali communities) were enrolled in an accredited accelerated secondary education program and 583 took part in a functional literacy program that targeted illiterate and semi-literate adolescents and youth of the Kambioos and IFO 2 camps.
Livelihoods interventions for self-reliance impacted the lives of over 150 adolescents and youth through apprenticeship, digital work, and greenhouse farming. With entrepreneurship training and market linkages, the livelihoods participants have formed and registered business groups and began earning income. The greenhouse-farming group was the only farming trader group accredited and authorized to participate in the World Food Program’s Fresh Food Voucher Program in Dadaab.
RET trained youth on leadership, youth-adult partnerships, conflict management, repatriation, reintegration & resettlement, and asset-based community development, to help them become agents of positive social change. RET also equipped Trainers of Trainers (ToTs) on “countering violent extremism” and set the agenda for discussing issues related to radicalization in the community. The measurable impact of the youth capacity development component was social change programs that reached 1’607 youth. They used sports activities (soccer for male and volleyball for female) to spread complimentary social change messages to the youth in the camps and the community. The youth-led social change interventions, implemented and monitored by the youth, took on the issues of drug abuse, child labor, female genital mutilation, and HIV/AIDs.
RET also received funding from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to focus on peace and resilience building among refugee youth, where 86 youth were trained as ToTs. These youth were then instrumental in implementing social change programs that reached more than 1’200 young people.
In partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – Dadaab Sub-Office, RET led the facilitation of Global Refugee Youth Consultations (GRYC) forums across the five camps where 50 youth, drawn from the youth leadership, participated. One of the sector’s successes is that some ToTs in the Ifo2 and Dagahaley camps were able to apply for the Youth Initiative Fund from UNHCR Geneva utilizing the skills acquired in the program.
The protected nature of crises amongst the Somali refugees living in Dadaab initiated voluntary repatriation to Baidoa in 2017; RET implemented a project to build the capacity of four thousand five hundred and fifty-three Somali refugees preparing to return to Baidoa through peacebuilding, conflict resolution, good governance, civic awareness training, and consultation forums.
The training was tailored to representatives of adolescent and youth leaders, who then cascaded the knowledge and skills acquired to other community members. The interactions led to an understanding of the challenges and conditions the returnees are likely to face upon return, as well as the acquisition of skills and knowledge allowing them to navigate these challenges, such as the governance systems in Baidoa, mechanisms, and strategies on peaceful co-existence or conflict prevention and resolution.
The Dadaab complex is composed of five camps: Ifo, Ifo2, Dagahaley, Hagadera, and Kambioos. This protracted situation, coupled with the encampment policy, have negatively impacted the youth by limiting their education and livelihood opportunities. RET has therefore been present in Dadaab to provide Accredited secondary education, livelihoods, functional literacy & numeracy, and youth engagement. Accredited secondary education was provided to those who had completed grade eight but lacked post-primary opportunities in the camps. The learners in this accelerated learning program accessed the Kenyan secondary education program in three years rather than four, leading to an accredited end of the secondary certificate on completing the external exams.
The livelihoods component worked with youth who did not have self-reliance opportunities by giving them either skills for online jobs (for those who had completed O level – twelfth grade) or farming (including selling their produce in the local markets).
Youth were trained, mentored, and supported to deliver online jobs and/or start their businesses in the camps. The farming component provided the necessary know-how for greenhouse farming and open field farming. Farmers were also supported to create kitchen gardens at the household level to supplement food rations. The young people without access to any form of education were engaged in Life Skills Education (LSE), which proposes literacy, numeracy, and entrepreneurship skills in RET LSE centers run by Centre Management Committees. The project focused on one-year functional literacy and numeracy training to enhance their life skills. The program included Somali and Swahili literacy for refugee and host community learners, respectively.
Both out-of-school and in-school youth were engaged as actors of social change in their communities through the youth capacity development component aimed at making them responsible individuals in the camps and upon their return to Somalia. It also included a component of Girl-to-Girl initiatives. Once trained with leadership skills, the youth were tasked with developing complex social change projects, focusing on reducing the radicalization of youth.
More recently, in 2019- 2020, RET’s focus was on Digital solutions. Bridging the Digital Divide to Develop Livelihoods” (BTG) project is an information, communication, and technology (ICT) skills training project, delivered in partnership with the United States International University – Africa (USIU) and targeting out-of-school adolescents and youth in Kakuma refugee camp. BTG’s focus was to enhance youth interaction with technology to become an on-demand digital skills acquisition enabler. Through a partnership with USIU AppFactory, the youth have received coding skills training necessary for building mobile and web applications and computer graphics and animation. The skills attained improved refugee youth income generating capacities and employability and enabled their business creation to develop scalable solutions to problems they face in the camp. The youth could access online jobs in the outsourcing industry through the acquired skills besides using animation in the camp for information dissemination, community mobilization, entertainment, and education for free or for pay.
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