The Government of Japan commits USD$4.6 million between 2021-2023 to an ongoing UN Women programme that strengthens resilience and helps change lives of refugee and host communities in Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps, and Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement.
The programme ‘Enhancing Women’s Resilience in Refugee Camps and Host Communities’ will be the third phase of the intervention in refugee settings in Kenya through a partnership between the Government of Japan and UN Women Kenya, which began in 2018. The programme empowers women and girls in conflict and humanitarian contexts, who experience acute and specific challenges because of their gender.
The primary objectives over the next two years will be to a) increase women’s capacity to participate in, and influence policymaking and programming on conflict prevention, peace and security and humanitarian action; b) generate new sources of income and economic opportunities for refugee and host community members; and c) increase access to effective services & protection mechanisms for vulnerable refugee and host communities.
During the official signing ceremony, UN Women Kenya Country Representative Anna Mutavati stressed the importance of gender programming, informed by the different experiences and realities of women and men in conflict/crisis contexts:
“The intersection between humanitarian action and women’s empowerment is critical for peace and security in Kenya. Our research shows women and girls from refugee and host communities are disproportionately and acutely affected by a series of socioeconomic insecurities related to food and water scarcity, extreme pressures on livelihoods and increased exposure to gender-based violence (GBV). Despite these experiences, they have traditionally been excluded from decision making processes on issues of peace and security in their communities.”
In Kenya, the first phase of the programme began in 2018, then titled ‘Leadership, Empowerment, Access & Protection in Crisis Response‘ (LEAP). Between 2019 and 2020, the project reached over 25,000 members of refugee and host communities through training sessions to raise awareness on GBV. In the Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement and Dadaab Refugee Camp, the programme also provided positive effects on livelihoods with over 500 women increasing their monthly income.
The third phase of the programme is set to start in mid-2021 and will take a whole society and multi sectoral approach. One new development for 2021 will see a partnership with Toyota Kenya Foundation (TKF) to cultivate automotive-related service technicians from refugee and host communities by offering a one-year course at their base in Nairobi. The partnership will produce more female mechanics with an aim to establish an auto-repair garage in Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement.
UNSCR1325 and Kenya’s National Action Plan
The new intervention embodies the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda (WPS), which reaffirms the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peace-building, peacekeeping, humanitarian response and in post-conflict reconstruction. The Government of Kenya has prioritized advancing the WPS agenda via the Kenya National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security (KNAP II) as it secures a seat on the UN Security Council. This includes efforts to localize the agenda at the community level. Speaking on the launch of KNAP II, Permanent Secretary for Gendrer, Prof. Coletta Suda added:
“We have witnessed how local women peacebuilders make notable progress in implementing the WPS agenda in our different counties, this demonstrates how the localization process has given women the space to take part in decision-making and resolution of local disputes as well as the incredible role of women are playing in peace negotiations and their leadership in continuing to implement the Kenya National Action Plan.”
Japan is one of Kenya’s key partners in taking forward the WPS agenda. Support to ‘Enhancing Women’s Resilience in Refugee Camps and Host Communities’ programme promotes economic empowerment of women and will prevent and respond to sexual violence in conflict settings. According to State Foreign Minister Uto, Japan provides assistance through multilateral frameworks, vigorously supporting the activities of the Team of Experts on the Rule of Law/Sexual Violence in Conflict. Since 2018, Japan has contributed 8.8 million dollars for the efforts initiated by UN Women to promote peace, security and humanitarian assistance in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.