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Kenya Refugee Response Plan for South Sudanese, January 2019 - December 2020

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Background and Achievements


Kenya is host to 114,432 South Sudanese refugees as of end of October 2018. It continues to provide asylum and protection to those and other refugee populations mainly from the Horn and Great Lakes region of Africa. There has been a steady influx of South Sudanese refugees into Kenya since the resumption of hostilities in South Sudan in December 2013, however, it is expected that the numbers will decrease in 2019 and 2020 as a result of the implementation of the Peace Agreement signed in August 2018.
In partnership with the Government of Kenya, RRP partners will work on a comprehensive protection and integrated development approach that focuses on: providing refugees with protection and assistance; promoting refugee and host community access to sustainable quality basic services (health, education, and water) and promoting economic inclusion and business opportunities. This will enhance peaceful coexistence between refugees and the host community. Gradually, the RRP partners will reposition themselves as a catalyst for change and provide technical assistance rather than direct protection and assistance to persons of concern (PoCs).
The Government of Kenya maintains an open door asylum policy for new arrivals including from non-neighbouring countries such as Eritrea, Burundi, the Central African Republic and others. The process of integrating the refugee and host community socially and economically is being implemented in the Kalobeyei settlement. However, the long-term success of this approach requires significant investment in existing national services as well as in development projects and infrastructure in the refugee-hosting counties. An example of how this integration is taking place in the education sector is the use of the Kenyan curriculum for refugee learning and this enables refugees to sit for the Kenyan National examinations. RRP partners continue to support the education of refugees, with significant enrolment of children from pre-primary to post-primary education. The Government has registered Kakuma schools as public entities but the schools do not benefit from government support as of yet. High level discussions and negotiations between RRP partners, the Government and the Ministry of Education (MoE) are ongoing regarding the integration of refugee education services into national structures and the development of a policy framework on inclusion of refugees. Furthermore, to enhance integration RRP partners are collaborating with development and financial institutions to help Kenya access the World Bank Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project in the Horn of Africa (DRDIP), as well as the IDA18 refugee sub-window which will finance development projects for the host communities. In spite of these positive development and even though in February 2017, the Court of Appeal ruled that the encampment policy was unconstitutional, the government’s encampment policy remains in effect and all PoCs are required to live in the camps (or the Kalobeyei Settlement). They must obtain authorisation to leave the camps and failure to do so exposes them to legal actions.
The Government is taking on an increased role in the delivery of protection services and significant achievements have been made in handing over critical processes such as running the reception facilities and conducting registration and refugee status determination (RSD), with the aim of strengthening the national refugee management system. All South Sudanese PoCs are currently recognised on a prima facie basis as refugees. A challenge faced is the considerable delays and obstacles for refugees in accessing documentation such as refugee ID cards and dissemination of birth and death certificates.
Kenya formally launched their application of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) in October 2017. In advance of this, at the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees the Government of Kenya committed to enhancing refugees self-reliance and inclusion in Kenya specific ally be pledging to support the Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement, to facilitate the legal status of refugees with legitimate claims to Kenyan residence or citizenship and to implement the “Guidelines on Admission of Non-Citizen to Institutions of Basic Education and Training in Kenya which will facilitate school enrolment of refugees and other non- citizens in Kenya school. Among the progressive steps that followed the formal announcement of Kenya as a CRRF country is the inclusion of refugees in the draft County Integrated Development Plans (CIPD) of Turkana and Garissa and the inclusion of refugees in Kenya’s UN Development Assistance Framework 2018-2022.

Needs Analysis

In line with the CRRF approach, RRP partners and the Government will focus on expanding protection for refugees and promoting solutions including socioeconomic inclusion of both refugees and the host community and peaceful coexistence. The key needs highlighted in all participatory consultations include: provision of efficient and effective emergency life-saving activities, expanding risk management activities and ensuring accountability in the response, enhancing protection response, adopting an area-based development approach for refugees and host communities, strengthening capacity of national service providers, promoting access to livelihoods and education programmes, implementing efficient mechanisms for shifting from blanket to targeted assistance, and expanding the community-based engagement strategy in Kalobeyei. RRP partners will continue to focus on the provision of transitional shelters and non-food items (NFIs), stabilisation of malnourished or critically-ill refugees and the provision of accelerated learning programmes. There is also a need for conducting border monitoring, registration and provision of documentation for refugees and asylum-seekers as well as ensuring timely identification of and response to refugees with protection risks. The ongoing complexity of protection concerns like early marriage and the risk of abduction of girls for the purpose of forced marriage is increasing.
Investment in risk management and ensuring accountability of the response is another key area. This can be achieved through expanding the use of innovative tools that allow refugees to monitor services delivery, increasing awareness of fraud and sexual exploitation and abuse among refugees, allow refugees to access their personal data and seek services from RRP partners through for example, the Kiosk for Access Service and Information( KASI) system and expand the use of the Application for Integration Management (AIM) for Protection and Solutions system to facilitate the resettlement processes, and the use of the WhatsApp communication tree. In addition to using innovative tools there is a need to increase RRP partners presence in the field, train staff in protection against sexual exploitation and abuse, improve effective reporting mechanisms, and enhance inter-agency coordination.
There is a need to continue with the strategy among RRP partners to adopt an area-based development approach, benefiting both refugees and host community, in line with the Kalobeyei Integrated Socio-economic Development Programme (KISEDP) and the Turkana County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) and expand the engagement of development actors and the private sector.RRP partners will have to continue to support the capacity building of national service providers. This will strengthen the integrity of work processes and expand the use of innovative solutions, improve inter-agency coordination mechanisms, reinforce government relations, and generate a stronger platform for implementing the KISEDP. Analysis shows that there is a need for RRP partners to double their efforts to ensure the availability of key services such as health, education and water for both refugees and host communities, advocate for development of large-scale renewable energy solutions and solar farms, construct water dams and pans to increase the water availability, and advocate for legal framework to allow for increased mobility and access to work for refugees.
Another area requiring intervention is in terms of the need to further build the human and financial capital of the refugees and host community. This will require RRP partners to continue to advocate for refugees to be seen as economic agents, further expand livelihoods programmes through improving data-driven programming, promote business development and vocational training, entrepreneurship training, and job creation. Tertiary education opportunities must be expanded through the establishment of the university hub involving more than ten universities from different countries offering bachelor degrees and diplomas using often blended learning methodologies. There is a need for socio-economic surveys to inform welfare prediction models. Refugees with increased expenditure levels need to be identified and efforts must be made to graduate them from reliance on humanitarian assistance.
A new community engagement strategy needs to be implemented through the increased use of community based organisations (CBOs) for the delivery of certain services, further expanding the use of cash-based interventions (CBI) for shelter, NFI and WASH sectors.
SGBV protection responses to survivors needs to be scaled up as well as the implementation of safe schools projects. The response must focus on reducing its footprint in areas where refugees are willing to engage.
There must be increased focus on promoting engagement with diaspora, further promoting resettlement and complementary pathways focusing on labour mobility and family reunification.