Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Livelihood projects could be far more effective if a new set of guidelines are implemented. DRC is now nominated by UNHCR and other NGO’s as focal point for livelihood projects in Dadaab refugee camp.
For many refugees, life in Dadaab is waiting. More than 425.000 refugees live in Dadaab, Kenya – the world’s largest refugee camp. Only a few of them have work or other livelihood and out of the 221.000 children and youths in the camp, only 57.000 of them are enrolled in school.
Some of the refugees – most of them Somalis - have lived in Dadaab for more than 20 years; some are born and raised in the camp. Self-sustaining is key for the refugees to return to normalcy either in their home country, Kenya where they are currently living or in a third country. But livelihood programs are not always as effective as one could hope for and that is what Danish Refugee Council (DRC), UNHCR and others will be working to change.
A livelihood program is seldom the first priority in aid work. Most NGO’s focus on acute emergency such as water, food, shelter and protection in both funding and field work, thus leaving livelihood programs and vocational training last in line. DRC have that same focus on emergency relief, but is also a strong player when it comes to projects with a longer timeframe such as livelihood and education. Now UNHCR and the agencies operating in Dadaab have nominated DRC as the lead agency to take the development of livelihood and vocational training forward by making a five-year strategy and guideline for all partners.
General Secretary of DRC, Andreas Kamm, is pleased with the nomination:
“We’re very proud of the nomination and we take our responsibility for making this project a success very seriously. We hope to reach the overall objective, which is to enable refugees in Dadaab to cope, adapt and thrive wherever they should choose to settle,” says Andreas Kamm.
The new strategy is to ensure that livelihood projects receive better follow-up, monitoring, evaluation and coaching. By giving the responsibilities to a single NGO, the organizations hope to improve the coherency and quality of the programs.
In Dadaab and Somalia in general there’s a need for people trained in construction, fishing, agriculture, teachers, nurses, doctors as well as computer skills and media professionals. In addition there’s a strong demand of people, who can read, write and calculate.