Kenya: Improved schools and teacher training in Somali refugee camps in Dadaab
Tuesday, 01 June 2010 00:00



In early May, AVSI signed a new agreement with UNHCR to continue educational and protection activities within the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya for an additional seven months.

Dadaab, Kenya; located 350 miles north of Nairobi, 55 miles from Somalia’s boarder, lies one of the biggest refugee camps in the world.  Founded in 1991, many of the nearly 270,000 Somali refugees have lived in Dadaab for almost 20 years; many of the youth have lived there their entire lives.  Although basic services are provided to refugees by the UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and its implementing partners (CARE, the head humanitarian organization in charge of camp management, and others such as AVSI), living conditions in the Dadaab refugee camps are extremely difficult, and are worsened by the harsh climate.

AVSI’s main sector of work in the Dadaab refugee camps is education; in 2009, in collaboration with Mount Kenya University and ICARUS which is the professional formation department of COWA, an AVSI Network partner in Kenya specializing in education and professional training, AVSI implemented a large scale intervention rehabilitating schools and training the teachers working in the refugee camps, with the support of UNHCR and the Italian International Cooperation.  According to Giampaolo Silvestri, AVSI Department Program Director, before this intervention no other group had successfully completed such camp wide teacher formation and school support. The project was greatly appreciated by the UNHCR and CARE, and in light of the success, UNHCR has proposed further collaboration with AVSI in the Daadab camp.  Mr. Silvestri adds “the situation in Dadaab is very delicate; being able to show hope for a brighter future in a refugee camp like this means a lot.”