USAID Study on Refugee and Host Community Self-Sufficiency and Resilience in Kenya
In a world with over 70 million displaced persons, the average refugee will spend over 17 years displaced, with many settling long-term in refugee camps dependent on humanitarian aid. The continued prevalence and growth of protracted refugee camps has become unsustainable for host states and insufficient for refugees, who have the right to more than just basic services and safety and are entitled to dignified and productive lives.
As part of USAID’s Rapid Technical Assistance Center (RTAC), the Pulte Institute worked with Dr. Rahul Oka, Associate Professor of Global Affairs and Anthropology, to study approaches which build refugee and host community self-sufficiency and resilience capacities. The research also aimed to more broadly analyze different development approaches utilized in protracted refugee camp settings, both in northern Kenya and throughout East Africa, and identify lessons-learned to inform future policy and programming decisions.
Following a robust literature review of the past interventions and academic studies, Dr. Oka and his team conducted extensive field research in the Kakuma, Kalobeyei, and Dadaab refugee camps in Northern Kenya, which collectively house over 400,000 refugees. The project implemented a mixed-methods approach that combined ethnographic and survey-based approaches among refugees and host committees in Turkana and key external stakeholders including humanitarian organizations, development organizations, host government officials, international government agencies, and the private sector.
The data collected from more than 700 refugees and hosts informed a final report to USAID which presented key sources of - and barriers to - resilience and self-sufficiency among refugees and host communities, as well as recommendations for future programs. This report will be instrumental to informing USAID’s next development strategy for Kenya.