UNHCR Kenya: Multi-year Strategy 2023 – 2026 – Livelihoods and Economic Inclusion (June 2022)



As of June 2022, Kenya hosts about 555,183 refugees and asylum-seekers in Kakuma/Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement, Dadaab refugee camp, Nairobi, El Doret, Nakuru and Mombasa. Of this population, around 45% are 18-59 years old, which make up most of the working age population. Unemployment is high amongst refugees and host communities in both camps and urban areas and most refugees live under the internationally recognized poverty line of a daily average income of USD 1.98 per person per day. Refugees face a range political, policy, and economic barriers which hinder their full integration into Kenya’s labour market.


This Multi-Year Strategic Plan 2023-2026 is developed jointly with government and non-government partners working on refugee self-reliance in Kenya. It provides a framework for UNHCR’s engagement in the livelihoods sector. Over the planned period, UNHCR will collaborate with its partners to create self and wage employment opportunities for refugees, asylum seekers, and their host communities in Kakuma-Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement, Dadaab refugee camp, and urban areas by pursuing five strategic priorities:


Strategic Priority 1 – Promotion of an enabling environment for socio-economic integration of refugees and asylum seekers


Strategic Priority 2 – Facilitation of market-driven technical and entrepreneurial skill development


Strategic Priority 3 – Improvement of access to financial services


Strategic Priority 4 – Facilitation of investment in new & innovative value chains and economic sectors


Strategic Priority 5 – Improvement of livelihoods data and analytical systems


In line with UNHCR’s Global Strategy Concept Note on Refugee Livelihoods and Economic Inclusion 2019-2023, UNHCR will play a ‘catalytic’ role in delivering livelihoods and economic development programmes in camps, settlements, and urban areas. This catalytic role requires UNHCR to facilitate the delivery of projects and initiatives by development partners, private sector, NGOs, and other entities that have common interests in supporting refugee self-reliance. Implementing this strategy will allow the delivery of a comprehensive refugee response in line with the Global Compact on Refugees. Leveraging partnerships with the private sector, livelihood operational partners and development partners will strengthen referral pathways for refugee inclusion into livelihoods and economic inclusion programming. In line with the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, UNHCR will encourage all partners to include host communities in their programme delivery alongside refugees and asylum seekers. Doing so will prevent the risk of inter-communal conflict amongst refugees and their host communities. It will help secure more political support from the host government by showcasing the positive economic impact of refugee markets.


In Kakuma and Dadaab, UNHCR will work with the Turkana and Garissa County governments to continue the implementation of the Kalobeyei Integrated Socioeconomic Development Plan (KISEDP) and re-ignite the process for the finalization of the Draft Garissa Integrated Socio-Economic Development Plan 2019. In line with the Roadmap for Solutions and the Marshall Plan, which is expected to lead to the ‘settlement model’ in Kenya, UNHCR will promote KISEDP as a model of good practice which can be replicated in Garissa. Similarly, UNHCR will work with the County Government of Garissa to finalize and implement the draft Garissa Integrated Socioeconomic Development Plan (GISEDP) during the planning period. This approach will encourage the Government of Kenya to include refugees in its County Integrated Development Plans.


This Strategic Plan is in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UNHCR’s corporate livelihoods strategy, Kenya’s Vision 2030, the Kampala Declaration on Jobs, Livelihoods and Self-reliance for Refugees, Returnees and Host Communities in the IGAD Region5, Kalobeyei Integrated Socio-Economic Development Programme (KISEDP), and the UNDAF (2019-2022). It has been informed by recent and important socio-economic studies, such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) study (Kakuma as a Market Place), the ILO market assessment conducted in Dadaab, the World Bank’s analysis on the socioeconomic conditions of urban and camp-based refugees in Kenya in 2022, and other related socioeconomic assessments.


Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees