Government’s Commitment to Supporting Communities Hosting Refugees – PS Dokota
ASAL and Regional Development Principal Secretary Idris Dokota expressed the government’s commitment to protecting the livelihoods of communities hosting refugees. He acknowledged the challenges posed by an influx of refugees and the resulting competition for resources. Speaking during a tour of projects under the KDRDIP in the Dadaab constituency, Dokota stated that the objective of the project is to improve access to social services, expand economic opportunities, and enhance environmental management in these communities. The KDRDIP, a five-year project, is funded through a loan of Sh10 billion from the WB and a grant of USD 11.58 million from the Danish government.
The project provides support to refugee-hosting communities in Garissa, Wajir, and Turkana Counties. The funds were allocated based on the host population and geographical area of each sub-county. Under the project’s Livelihood Program, a total of 4,577 Community Groups across the five sub-counties have received grants, with each group receiving a grant of Sh500,000. It is noteworthy that 988 of these groups were women’s groups, representing 21% of the beneficiaries, and 19% were youth groups, while 2% were People Living with Disabilities.
Dokota emphasized that the KDRDIP aligns with the country’s development priorities, particularly in reducing poverty and inequality. He also highlighted that it is part of the government’s efforts to deliver social services to vulnerable and marginalized communities, as outlined in the Constitution. The project aims to address resource scarcity caused by the influx of refugees, particularly through income-generating activities that stimulate the local economy. Additionally, Dokota mentioned engaging communities in nontraditional livelihoods due to the ongoing effects of droughts.
Kenya has faced an influx of refugees due to conflicts, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters. The country has provided asylum to thousands of Somalians and Sudanese fleeing conflicts in their home countries. The presence of these vulnerable groups has put pressure on the social and economic infrastructure of host communities. Sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, bears a significant burden in terms of hosting refugees, with over 26% of the world’s refugee population residing in this region. As a result, resources such as water, pasture, land, and even basic necessities like firewood are shared with the refugees.
According to a UNHCR report from December 2022, Kenya hosts approximately 574,000 registered refugees, with the majority residing in Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps. In response to this situation, the government, with World Bank funding, initiated the Kenya Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project (KDRDIP) in 2017. The project aims to compensate host communities for the resources they share with refugees.
Recently, Garissa Governor Nathif Jama urged the swift launch and implementation of the Garissa Integrated Socio-Economic Development Plan (GISEDP), which aims to integrate refugees into the host community by providing access to land, urban services, housing, and infrastructure. The governor expressed concern over the delay in launching GISEDP and called for action.