Introduction. The Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya's North Eastern Province comprises the three camps of Dagahaley, Hagadera and Ifo, which officially accommodate around 270.000 predominantly Somali refugees. In spite of extensive investments in sustaining the camps over the last 18 years, knowledge of their social, economic and environmental impacts on the surrounding areas remains scanty, and largely anecdotal. As the impacts have become more apparent, there has been increased attention from donors, UN agencies, NGOs and the Government of Kenya (GoK) on the provision of services in the districts around Dadaab. There is scope for developing a joint (GoK, humanitarian and development agency) approach to host community issues, but this requires a well informed decision-making process. A study of the impacts of the camps on the host community was therefore commissioned by Department of Refugee Affairs and the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Nairobi, to provide the information necessary to guide such a process.
Objectives. The objectives of the study were to (1) Assess the social and economic benefits and challenges that the Dadaab refugee camps have on the host community and Kenya at large; (2) Assess the environmental impacts of the camps on the surrounding area; and (3) Identify and assess options for addressing the negative impacts and optimising the positive elements. Based on these options, the study was to provide recommendations for improving the sustainable presence of the refugees.