In search of protection and livelihood

This report examines the socio-economic and environmental impacts of hosting refugees in the Dadaab Refugee Camps in Kenya. The study highlights both positive and negative effects on the host communities, including employment opportunities and increased trade, but also strains on resources and conflicts. The report recommends sustainable development approaches, such as investing in infrastructure and services, promoting environmental conservation, and fostering social cohesion. Collaboration between the government, humanitarian organizations, and local communities is essential, along with continued international support.


The Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya’s North Eastern Province has been accommodating predominantly Somali refugees for the past 18 years. However, there is limited knowledge about the social, economic, and environmental impacts of the camps on the surrounding areas. To address this, a study was commissioned to assess these impacts and provide recommendations for improving the sustainable presence of the refugees.

The study found that the camps have both positive and negative impacts on the host community. Positive impacts include increased access to food, economic opportunities, and social services. However, negative impacts include depletion of firewood and building materials, as well as competition for grazing resources. Despite these negative impacts, the study established that the overall positive impacts on the host area outweigh the negative ones.

The study also highlighted the need for a more coordinated approach to support both the refugees and the host communities. It recommended focusing on supporting pastoral production, trade, and mobility in the host communities. Additionally, an overall area development strategy should be developed to promote viable livelihood support and economic linkages.

Furthermore, the study emphasized the importance of integrating humanitarian and development work in the hosting area. It called for a shift from short-term humanitarian thinking to long-term development interventions. Development agencies should recognize the role of the refugee presence in driving local development and tailor their interventions accordingly.

Overall, the study provided insights into the impacts of the Dadaab refugee camps on the host community and recommended strategies for addressing the negative impacts and optimizing the positive elements. It emphasized the need for a coordinated and sustainable approach to support both the refugees and the host communities in the long term.


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