NAIROBI, 12 September 2019 — The European Union (EU) has allocated €2.025 million in humanitarian funding for UNICEF’s programmes helping children at refugee camps and settlements in Kenya. The funding will ensure improved access to protection services and education for children and adolescents at the Dadaab and Kakuma Refugee Camps.
This EU humanitarian aid funding is going towards actions that are in line with the UN Refugee Agency’s Global Compact on Refugees and the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) that work at putting in place more sustainable, lasting solutions for refugees and children in displacement.
“The EU attaches great importance to the access to quality protection and education services for children caught in humanitarian crises, especially for those who are unaccompanied or in a vulnerable situation,” said the European Union’s Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides. “We are continuing our partnership with UNICEF to expand access to these services and enable children and adolescents to develop holistically, and in safety and dignity.”
Kenya is hosting almost half a million refugees. Out of 213,000 children, over 20,000 are unaccompanied or separated from their families or caregivers, having fled conflict or drought in the region. Over 45 per cent of refugee children are out of school and those enrolled are learning in poorly-equipped environments, largely lacking adequate school infrastructure and qualified professional teachers.
“We know that children affected by conflict and natural disasters are among the most vulnerable in the world, facing daily threats to their rights and ability to lead a normal life. Adolescent girls in particular are at risk of sexual abuse,” UNICEF Representative in Kenya, Maniza Zaman, said. “UNICEF is grateful for this essential funding and our ongoing partnership with the EU that will strengthen much-needed services for children and adolescents in refugee settlement areas.”
Conflict and congested camps expose refugee children to multiple risks. Children and adolescents are traumatised by the fighting and the experience of displacement, with many losing their families along the way, ending up without shelter, and at the risk of violence and abuse. The exposure to these risks is especially high when children are not in school.
With the EU’s support, UNICEF will ensure that unaccompanied, separated and vulnerable children gain increased access to quality protection services. This includes giving children alternative family care with trained and registered foster parents, psychosocial support, and helping the refugee community in protecting children. Undocumented, unaccompanied and separated children and adolescents in Dadaab and Kakuma will be helped in tracing and finding their families who may be at other camps.
Additionally, UNICEF will expand access to quality formal and non-formal education services through additional classroom and sanitation infrastructure, learning materials, training for teachers and awareness in the community on the need of families to send their children to school.
UNICEF will also address issues that relate to children’s well-being and safety, including violence, abuse, exploitation and harmful cultural practices, both in and out of school.
“We are confident that through these measures, UNICEF, thanks to the EU’s financial support, can ensure that more children living in refugee camps have a brighter future ahead of them,” Maniza Zaman added. “If they are in school, they are better protected from abuse and they have a chance to learn skills that will make them productive future members of society.”
UNICEF Kenya has long worked with the EU, the Government of Kenya, UNHCR and other partners to address the needs of refugees and displaced children in Kenya. With this EU humanitarian aid, UNICEF will continue to strengthen access to quality education and child protection services that cater to the immediate needs of refugee children, adolescents and their families and communities.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.