LWF Kenya – Djibouti Program
472,000 people live in five refugee camps in Dadaab. This is 472,000 ordinary people who are just like most of us. Many of them had ordinary lives in various parts of Somalia not so long ago. They might have had a piece of land, some livestock or a small shop. Maybe they were running a café or were employed. They were ordinary people with, in their country, ordinary lives. Now they are refugees. There are 221,000 school aged children in Dadaab. About 160,000 of them do not go to school. Those who do go attended classes with up to 100 children. A lot has been and can be said about Dadaab, but one year after the announcement of the emergency, which was done on 20th of July 2011, the most important thing to remember is that the people living there are ordinary people, who want, desire, like and need ordinary things. Thank you for your continued support, commitment, dedication, thoughts and prayers!
Main issues in the Country
Security is a concern all over Kenya, not only in the or near the refugee camps. There has been several small attacks on places were Kenyans come together. Two churches were attacked in Garissa, killing about 17 worshipers, many of them children. There have been attacks with small arms in Wajir and Mandera, and in Northern Kenya, along the border with Ethiopia there has been violent clashes between people about access to scarce resources. Displacements has been reported over the weekend.
The “Famine Early Warning System Network” (FEWSNET) warns that the overall population that will not have enough food in Kenya is likely to increase from the current 2.2 million to at least 2.4 million people during August. The situation is expected to continuously worsen until mid- to late October until the start of the October to December “short rains” season.
Main issues for the Program
Also for the program the main issue and concern is related to the lack of security. The situation is very complex and it is literally on a day-to-day basis that we can plan activities in Dadaab. For Djibouti and Kakuma the security concerns are far less acute.
Funding levels is an increasing concern, we are extremely grateful for all support from related agencies, members and donors. But the UNHCR has serious funding shortfalls, much to – it seems – their surprise. This means that what they communicated at the beginning of the year and what has been the overarching planning framework, is no longer certain. UNHCR is usually expected to cover core running costs, like core security costs (not all security costs, but heavy investment in police equipment, fences, etc), core and basic infrastructure etc. When they don’t have funds they cannot do that, and an increasing share of UNHCRs funding is also directed to security. UNHCR spends more than 20% of their total budget for Dadaab on security this year, and it could well go up to 25%. Therefore as much as we believe that Governments and back donors should support UNHCR more, we as LWF and all other partners need to take on more duties, and try to raise more funds. There have even been some indications that the UNHCR may need to reduce already signed agreements, in order to cover more cost for heavy investments in security. I do not, personally, always share the same view as UNHCR on these issues, priorities or solutions. But I do believe that all of us who are operating in Dadaab and Kakuma share the same overall main concerns; security and funding levels. A lot is focused on Dadaab, but – apart from the security – the same is true for Kakuma.
The work does move forward, but due to the unstable situation we don’t know form one day to the next what we will be able to do, or where we will be able to go. This may cause delays in some implementation, like right now we have been forced to stop all shelter work. Hopefully this will be up again next week, but behind schedule and with a start up time for the production of Interlocking Stabilized Soil Bricks (ISSB). 512 tents have been pitched in Kambioos and people have moved in. Shelters are badly needed, as the tents distributed during the emergency are now old and dilapidated. The Education sector moves on well – a new school is under construction and more children will be able to get an education. The teacher training program is also moving ahead well. The problem of course is that 29,000 school aged children in the two camps, Hagadera and Kambioos, where the LWF is implementing primary education does not go to school. There is simply no room – even as we use all facilities in two shifts; a morning shift and an afternoon shift. Teachers, desks, classroom, exercise books, etcetera just aren’t enough.
The CPPT system is being expanded and upgraded with refresher trainings for “old” CPPTs and replacement of old equipment. With additional support received lately, we believe we will be able to reach 1,100 CPPT members by the end of this year – up from 350 a year ago. However, we see that the violence and especially Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) is on the increase and we are now discussing the possibility to do something complimentary to the CPPT system, addressing specifically SGBV and protection for women and girls.
From Somalia there are reports that the political process towards the August 20 deadline, when the Transitional Federal Government in Mogadishu must be replaced by something else, has been delayed. July 23 a council of 185 elders representing all clans in Somalia was supposed to endorse a draft new constitution, but they failed to do so. There are also reports of population movements towards the borders – towards Ethiopia (Dollo Addo) and towards Kenya (Dadaab). But there are no reports of people actually crossing the border yet.
About 5,000 refugees have moved to Hol Hol from the older camp at Ali Addeh. This is good, the Ali Addeh camp has had serious water problems and this is a good move to decongest the old camp and stabilize the water provision. In Hol Hol the LWF continues with Education and Livelihood, being our two sectors in Djibouti. We have also discussed with UNHCR the possibility to work in Child Protection, as there is very little work done on this and we see major needs.
Installation of solar panels for light and fans is ongoing. The funds that were o be provided by the Japanese Embassy has delayed, why we have requested other partners to allow re-allocation of funds for the resource center to other activities. The training of refugee teachers in cooperation with the French Government is going on very well now during the school break. All trainers and students have been very eager and motivated!
The LWF has received a grant from a private donor via UNHCR for construction of a girls boarding secondary school, for 170 girls. The construction of this will soon start, and this is very positive news for the refugee children in Kakuma. Also, we are about to finish the construction of a school outside the camps, for host community children. When this is finished, one school inside the camp that is currently used by children from the host community, will move out and the school in the camp will be used for refugee children.
The inflow of new refugees to Kakuma has continued, but at a slower pace. The chart below shows the weekly inflow of new refugees during 2012 (week 1 – week 28). The red thick line is the trend line, indicating a peak around week 15. One reason for the reduced inflow is probably that the rain in South Sudan makes movement very difficult. There are also talks between the two sides, South Sudan and Sudan, which is a good sign.
The LWF is not working with refugees in urban centers, at least not yet. But we have started a discussion with UNHCR, some donors and partners about this. We see that more and more refugees are not in camps, but in urban centers, and there are many needs and gaps – especially on legal support, livelihoods and on supporting children e.g. to access education. This work is different, in many ways, but we see needs and we believe has a role to play.
What we have done so far is to provide some little support to refugees who have been forced to leave Dadaab due to threats and insecurity. These people have very little support and few opportunities, we have provided some material support and since most of them are also in a resettlement process (resettlement in a third country) we also try to follow up on their cases and assist them to move the process forward quicker.