Conflicts in Kenya’s neighboring countries, like Somalia, 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. This leaves young people with few skills to defend themselves and puts them at risk of involvement in criminal activities, armed groups, and terrorist groups or to fall victim to sexual and drug abuse.
Since 2012, RET has intervened in the Dadaab refugee camps, as well as some urban settings, to provide empowerment, livelihood skills and formal education to the most vulnerable displaced youth.
From 2014 on, RET has focused on the Dadaab camps, which according to the UNHCR had a population of 234,346 registered refugees and asylum seekers in 2018. In addition to providing youth with the skills they need to confront the risks of their environment, RET also builds the capacities of returnees heading to Somalia voluntarily. More recently, RET has been providing digital vocational programs to vulnerable youth.
Bridging the Digital Divide to Develop Livelihoods
The “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 will not only enhance youth interaction with technology but also become an on-demand digital skills acquisition enabler. The youth through partnership with USIU AppFactory will receive coding skills training necessary for building mobile and web applications, in addition to computer graphics animation. In collaboration with RET, USIU will design the course and modules in alignment with the AppFactory and deliver it on CSR basis to target 120 youth. Taking advantage of the technological advancement in Kenya and the availability of high-speed internet, RET is implementing most of the courses online, through teleconferencing; social media and boot camps.
The skills attained will improve refugee youth income generating capacities, improve employability and enable own business creation as well as develop scalable solutions to problems they face in the camp. Through the acquired skills, the youth will be able to access online jobs in the outsourcing industry besides using animation in the camp for information dissemination, community mobilization, entertainment and education for free or for pay. The project will not only whet creativity but also give the youth an opportunity to be innovative in solving problems using technology.
This project implemented between 2019 and 2020 is funded by the US Embassy in Kenya, the Julia Taft fund and implemented by RET in Kenya.
Education and Livelihood
The project advances strategies, effecting an orderly closure of education and livelihood activities to other Humanitarian Actors for sustainability in Dadaab.
This project implemented between September 2018 and December 2018, was funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration BPRM and implemented by RET in Kenya.
Learning Together for a Sustainable Future
RET has been present in Dadaab since 2012 and during the fiscal year 2018 it implemented the second phase to the project named “Learning Together for a Sustainable Future” which focused on four pillars of intervention: 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 secondary certificate on successful completion of 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 own businesses in the camps. The farming component provided the necessary know-how for greenhouse farming and open field farming. Farmers were also supported to start 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 that are run by Centre Management Committees. The second project focused on a 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, as well as upon their return to Somalia. This also included a component of Girl-to-Girl initiatives. Once trained with leadership skills, the youth were tasked with developing detailed social change projects, which focus on reducing the radicalization of youth.
This project implemented between July 2017 and June 2018, was funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM)and implemented by RET in Kenya.