Department of Refugee Services and UNICEF Kenya Forge Partnership to Empower Refugee Children in Kenya

July 25, 2023

By Stanley Nyale,

During a courtesy visit to the Department of Refugee Services (DRS) on July 25, 2023, the UNICEF Country Representative, Shaheen Nilofer, emphasized the crucial roles that UNICEF plays in supporting children’s rights and well-being. The meeting aimed to explore opportunities for collaboration between UNICEF and DRS to enhance support for refugee children in Kenya especially in light of the Shirika Plan.

“UNICEF is fully committed to partnering with the Department of Refugee Services to strengthen the protection and empowerment of refugee children in Kenya,” stated Shaheen Nilofer, the UNICEF Country Representative.

Ms. Nilofer, along with her team, expressed UNICEF’s commitment to bolstering DRS’s efforts in refugee child protection, education, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), and other key areas. The discussion centred on strategies to jointly strengthen the department’s capacity to better serve the needs of vulnerable refugee children.

During the meeting, specific action points were highlighted to address critical issues affecting refugee learners. “We request the Department’s assistance in registering refugee learners on the National Education Management Information System (NEMIS) and in collaborating with the government to facilitate TSC teachers in refugee schools,” urged Shaheen Nilofer. Moreover, UNICEF sought the department’s intervention in registering refugee schools with the government and in providing Teaching Service Commission (TSC) teachers for these schools. The enhanced adoption and support of the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) in refugee camps was also discussed, with both parties acknowledging its importance for enhancing learning outcomes.
“We welcome UNICEF’s proposals and share a common goal to protect vulnerable refugee children, including unaccompanied minors and minor-led families,” stated Commissioner John Burugu. He urged UNICEF to involve the department in program planning to ensure a comprehensive and coordinated approach, avoiding overlaps with other partners’ initiatives, and making optimal use of limited resources available.

The meeting concluded on a positive note, with UNICEF and DRS committed to working together as strategic partners, leveraging their expertise and resources to uplift the lives of refugee children in Kenya. The collaboration is expected to strengthen the protection and support systems for refugee children, providing them with a brighter future and enabling them to access quality education, adequate health and sanitation facilities, and essential protection services.

This partnership represents a significant step forward in the collective endeavour to safeguard the rights and well-being of vulnerable children amidst challenging circumstances, signalling hope and progress for refugee communities in Kenya.