Kakuma Refugee Camp Multi Sector Needs Assessment Report, July 2022.
July 31 , 2022
The Multi-Sectoral study on Kakuma delves into the critical components within the humanitarian space to provide a cross-cutting assessment of the existing situation and the possible avenues for intervention. Kenya has had to shoulder the refugee problem in the Horn of Africa due to its relative stability.
The assessment intends to provide an empirical overview of the status and developments of humanitarian needs in the Kakuma camp, especially concerning access to services. In addition, it will enable evidence-based engagements with the donors and partners within the humanitarian sector in the camp and feed and strengthen advocacy efforts in Kakuma. Finally, it will support better planning and implementation of emergency and long-term engagements.
The data collection included secondary and primary data sources. This was through household surveys complemented with qualitative key informant interviews and focus group discussions. A sample of five hundred and twenty-eight households was selected, with male dominance at 60%, female at 39.6%, and intersex at 0.4%. An exciting aspect of the demographics is that out of the 39.6% of women interviewed, 34.4% were household heads. The role of women is thus brought to the fore by the authority they have over the households.
The sectorial findings in some instances were uniform across the entire camp, while in other cases, they were different in the villages. However, there was agreement that women and girls are the primary victims of gender-based violence, and the unique needs category has a higher percentage for lactating mothers.
Crucial to note that in Kakuma, mental health issue is a concern, with males having a higher predisposition than females. Violence exists, but a deep understanding of what precisely violence is needed to be improved since some of the actions are considered petty and not abuse, while in essence, may be contributory factors to physical and emotional abuse.
The reporting of the violence is different across the stakeholders, but noteworthy in Kakuma was the under reporting among civil society and donor organizations. In addition, the copying mechanisms were non-existent. Therefore, the report proposes a modern approach that includes legal aid, and alternative dispute resolution, to close some of the gaps that traditional means of resolution and law enforcement experience.
Education access grapples with cultural prejudices, which instigates the vices of early marriage as an available option when provided. Therefore, improving enrollment, sustaining retention, retaining, and encouraging transition requires a multifaceted approach grounded on cultural needs, infrastructural improvement, and a localized education policy.
The humanitarian space shows priorities that do not reflect the needs of the refugees. For example, registration and availing of toilets rank lower than water, food, and resettlement. Registration is a prerequisite to access to services; however, the unending new arrivals demand the availability of essential services before registration. Therefore, a new strategy to deal with this reality is required.
The refugees have skills that can earn them gainful employment. However, the regulatory framework still has bottlenecks that the refugees find it difficult to venture into income-related activities. In addition, the empowerment activities mismatch with the environmental market. Therefore, empowerment programs should invest in markets at scale by focusing on sustainable livelihoods beyond the camp.
Besides the laws limiting the refugees, lack of access to financial services can render their ideas ineffective. Insurance services are practically non-existent, with most refugees relying on family to get financial assistance. As a result, debt exists, and food and health are among the key contributors to such debt stress. The livelihoods question is thus vital since it touches across many other sectors. Improving health access, constant food availability and better education can reduce debt stress and improve income stability.
The accessibility to food is relatively low since the donors do their best to avail themselves of food rations. The problem, however, is the reduction in the distribution ratios. As a result, the food choices are minimal, and the refugees are confined to what the donors provide regardless of the households’ nutritional standards and consumption levels.
Water is available but remains to be a scarce resource within the camps. The menace of corruption, for example, in cleaning water points has affected the accessibility of water and created intra-village conflicts. Eventually, the lack of water harms hygiene and sanitation. Awareness of the needful approaches exists but, in some instances, projects do not come to fruition and the awareness level tends to be affected.
The health challenges are numerous, and COVID-19 was only one of them. The number of refugees that keeps surging, especially in Village IV and which affects the entire health and emergency systems, overwhelms the problem on facilities and human resources. Moreover, being one of the sectors contributing to expenditure and debt among refugees, health issues within Kakuma camp require much attendance.