Since October 2012, Terre des hommes (Tdh), alongside 18 other main aid agencies, has been involved in a major emergency response operation in favour of Somali refugees in the North-eastern part of Kenya. According to UNHCR (2014), more than 350’000 refugees are registered in five major camps. Via funding from the US-State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), UNICEF and Swiss Solidarity, Tdh was in a position to roll out its emergency child protection operations in Kambioos, the most recently set-up camp currently holding a caseload of 19’641 Somali refugees, 13’941 of them being children.
Due to pendulum movement between the camps and the areas of origin in Somalia, the phenomenon of separated minors is significant and child protection risks are substantial; namely early marriage, child labour and child abuse. According to a recent joint-agency assessment, 57% of all minors in Kambioos are living with alternative care givers (persons other than their parents or next of kin) and major child protection risks in this harsh environment are a reality.
Over the past twenty-one months, Tdh trained and subsequently deployed 62 Somali refugees, 37 Somali-speaking Kenyans and four senior staffers in its community centre and directly in the various blocks in Kambioos to assure that minimum standards of child protection in emergencies are in place.
Kambioos, June 24, 2014: Zahra Kore Noor (40 years old, mother of six children and caregiver to two additional separated children) is the chairwoman of the camp. She shares emergency child protection needs with Tdh on a regular basis; here in a discussion with Tdh HQ Emergency Desk Officer, Dr. Steve Ringel, on the subject of protection needs of unaccompanied minors.
In close collaboration with UNHCR and the local authorities, this year, Tdh’s operations have successfully assured that child protection needs were fully catered for almost 700 vulnerable Somali children out of over 1,000 high risk cases identified up to now inside the camp. Yet a continuity of the program is required due to the fact that the political and economic situation in Somalia does not allow any significant repatriation efforts in the predictable future.
Emergency operations are currently carried via financial support from the US-State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and Swiss Solidarity.