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Two agencies launch project to provide incomes for youth, refugees in Kenya

Tuesday June 12, 2018

Two international agencies on Monday launched a new project to create income generation opportunities for refugees and Kenyan youth in the Dadaab camp in northeast Kenya.

The Refugee Employment and Skills Initiative (RESI) launched by the International Trade Center (ITC) and Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) uses market-based incentives to foster sustainable livelihoods for refugees and members of the host community, said agencies in a joint statement issued in Nairobi.

The agencies said RESI allows the refugees and host community to gain commercially viable skills while enhancing youth employment and entrepreneurship.

"The RESI project will enable the NRC to work more closely with all development partners, including the Garissa County Government and to have a holistic approach in our business and livelihood sector interventions," said Andrea Bianchi, NRC Head of Program-Kenya.

Bianchi said the aim of improving the livelihoods of both refugees and members of the host community is a crucial component of the project and creates wider value in Dadaab.

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Dadaab, currently home to about 250,000 Somali refugees, was opened in 1991 as a temporary shelter for people fleeing civil war in neighboring Somalia.

Through RESI, ITC, which is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the UN, will work with a diverse range of partners to develop trade-led, market-based solutions to create work opportunities for young people in Dadaab in the online freelancing and home decor sectors.

"What is exciting about RESI is that it combines the strengths and resources of humanitarian and development partners, namely NRC and ITC to promote long-lasting solutions in protracted refugee situations, such as Dadaab," said ITC Project Manager Vivian Marcelino.

According to officials, by enhancing the ability of refugees and host community members to connect to domestic and international value chains, RESI will provide sustainable income-generating opportunities for youth and women in Dadaab and improve their abilities to be self-reliant.

Siyad Samatar, NRC's area manager for north-eastern Kenya, said the project strengthens the harmonious coexistence of the two communities.

The study which included a site visit to Dadaab, interviews and focus groups that was launched ahead of the project launch identified a significant demand for digital services, including online freelancing in work such as basic computer services, data entry, transcription.

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