Operation: Opération: Kenya



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Key Figures

2018 year-end results
112,380 refugee children were enrolled in primary education
13,570 people of concern received shelter support and 6,000 households received cash for construction materials
8,350 refugees received voluntary repatriation packages
7,330 best interest assessments were conducted for child protection purposes
380 people received cash or vouchers for business start-ups
2019 planning figures
100% of known SGBV survivors will receive appropriate support
100% of targeted refugee households will be living in adequate dwellings
144,000 registered children will be enrolled in primary education
30,000 Somali refugees will be assisted in their return to Somalia
14,000 people of concern will be registered and issued documentation through late birth registration to prevent statelessness
1,650 Best Interests Assessments  for child protection will be conducted

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Decrease in
2018 490,224
2017 506,915
2016 514,867


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2018 {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"budget":[285.14035843,251.196113504,269.17496251,230.288342676,191.11337188,169.97106229],"expenditure":[113.90905448,101.0363817,124.33198299,121.04733519,102.55652278,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[284.77004236,250.824697504,268.67496278,229.378158795,190.63187567,169.41507253],"p2":[0.37031607,0.371416,0.49999973,0.910183881,0.48149621,0.55598976],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]} {"categories":[2014,2015,2016,2017,2018,2019],"p1":[113.73583734,100.84664123,124.06368063,120.55286739,102.17128776,null],"p2":[0.17321714,0.18974047,0.26830236,0.4944678,0.38523502,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019

Operational context

The official declaration of Kenya as a CRRF country in late 2017, combined with the roll out of the multi-year, multi-partner (MYMP) strategy shifted the way UNHCR delivers its protection and solutions strategy in Kenya. The roll out accelerated the Government’s drafting of its CRRF “roadmap” which also includes the national action plan for Somali refugees (derived from the IGAD Nairobi action plan). With potential to impact upon the deliberations on the draft Refugee Bill and the finalization of the Kenya’s Immigration Policy, UNHCR supported the Government in its development of the roadmap. The adoption of the draft Refugee Bill, however, was not finalized in 2018, nor was the process to access the World Bank’s IDA18 refugee sub-window funds.
Collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) resulted in the launch of the “Kakuma as a market place study”, in May 2018. The IFC and World Bank also started a socio-economic assessment in Kalobeyei, towards self-reliance and entrepreneurship targeting both refugees and host communities.  UNHCR continued to pilot a new socio-economic integration approach in Kalobeyei, aimed at establishing integrated semi-urban settlement. The project became officially part of the Turkana County Integrated Development Plan and its five-year Plan that was launched in December.

Population trends

The number of refugees and asylum-seekers in Kenya decreased from some 488,400 in 2017, to 471,700 at the end of 2018. Despite this decline, Kenya remained the fifth largest asylum country in Africa, and among the fifteen largest asylum countries in the world.

In 2018, nearly 23,860 new refugee arrivals were registered – a figure that has also declined over the past four years. The largest group of new arrivals originated from South Sudan. During the year, some 10,100 refugees returned voluntarily to their countries of origin including more than 7,500 to Somalia, and approximately 600 to Burundi and 2,000 to Ethiopia. 

Key achievements

  • Nearly 9,000 households (22,000 refugees) living in urban areas were enrolled in the national health insurance fund.
  • Free day secondary education was extended to all students in urban areas, enrolled in public secondary schools, including refugees who continued to benefit from a capitation grant of $220 per year.
  • In Nairobi, some 1,900 people of concern were supported through various activities such as skills development, guidance/access to labour markets, and financial services, enhancing their livelihood opportunities and self-reliance. In Kakuma, 3,000 people were provided with business development services; seeds and tools for agricultural activities; vocational skills training; access to formal and semi-formal credit services to improve livelihoods and self-reliance.

Unmet needs

More than 11,600 people of concern, mostly from Somalia, residing in camps remained undocumented due to the suspension of continuous registration for new arrivals in Dadaab since 2015.

Some 50,000 asylum-seekers experienced a delay of nearly two years for their refugee status determination (RSD) interviews due to limited national RSD capacity.

Only 53% of households in Dadaab had access to cooking energy in 2018, forcing the remaining 47% of refugee households to search for firewood and building materials in the surrounding areas. This has resulted in increased incidences of SGBV, environmental degradation and tensions with the host community. In Kakuma camp, only 30% of refugees’ domestic energy needs were met, leading to decreased nutritional status of the refugees who are forced to exchange food for fuel.

Working environment

In 2018, Kenya will continue to be amongst the top hosting countries for refugees in a protracted situation. The majority of refugees and asylum-seekers are from Somalia (287,400) followed by South Sudan (110,400).
In 2018, UNHCR will continue to build on the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants and the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), adopted by member states in 2016.. Focus will be on facilitating durable solutions, and inclusive, integrated and sustainable humanitarian and development solutions. Led by the Government, the sustained and adequate support of the UN, development partners, business, and civil society is vital if these results are to be achieved. Strong partnerships with the central authorities and refugee hosting counties of Garissa, Nairobi and Turkana will be key to achieve integration and inclusion of refugees in County Development Plans and Kenya’s 2018-2022 UNDAF.

Key priorities

In alignment with the New York Declaration and CRRF, the main operational priorities in Kenya for 2018-2019 are:
  • Investing in preserving and securing asylum and protection space;
  • Supporting the establishment of effective, efficient and fair government asylum and protection institutions and systems;
  • Supporting Government to develop and implement an effective national refugee management system;
  • Refugee and hosts benefit from quality integrated public and private social services in education and health;
  • Investing in inclusive socio-economic solutions for refugee and host community livelihoods and resilience;
  • Ensuring peaceful coexistence for both communities in Turkana County where the Kalobeyei settlement integrated development approach is being piloted; and in Garissa County, home of Dadaab and a socio-economic development and environmental rehabilitation priority region;
  • Supporting the achievement of durable solutions for refugees and stateless persons;
  • Pursuing the efforts in streamlining risk management in the country operations.
Latest contributions
  • 17-JUL-2019
  • 16-JUL-2019
  • 11-JUL-2019
  • 10-JUL-2019
  • 08-JUL-2019
    European Union
  • Kuwait
  • 05-JUL-2019
  • 04-JUL-2019

    private donors

  • European Union
  • Japan
  • 03-JUL-2019
  • 02-JUL-2019
  • 30-JUN-2019

    private donors

  • Argentina
  • Sweden

    private donors

  • Spain
  • Oman

    private donors

  • United Arab Emirates

    private donors

  • Kuwait

    private donors

  • Saudi Arabia

    private donors