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World Refugee Day - Include All, Empower All

The United Nations' (UN) World Refugee Day is marked annually on June 20th. The day was established by the General Assembly of United Nations for the refugees to pay tribute to the courage, strength, optimism, and resilience of women, girls, men and boys who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict, and violence.

An unprecedented 25.4 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18, have been forced from home.

Kenya has for over two decades hosted refugees in Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps against the backdrop of protracted conflict and human suffering in the region. Presently, the country hosts an estimated 468,910 refugees (229,999 female and 238,911 male) mostly from Somalia and South Sudan. Refugees live in fragile conditions, requiring lifesaving assistance, safety and protection by the government, UN agencies, organizations and the host community.

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund has globally been at the forefront of advocacy, policy work, and service delivery to ensure rights of refugees and other populations affected by humanitarian situations are protected holistically.

The Fund works with other UN agencies, governments, and non-State actors to ensure refugees are not left behind in line with its mandate of ending the unmet need for family planning, ending preventable maternal death, and ending violence and harmful practices against women and girls.

UNFPA is presently working with the Kenya Red Cross Society and the International Rescue Committee in Kakuma and Kalobeyei refugee camps in Kenya to strengthen provision of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and Gender Based Violence (GBV) services to 186,088 (99,335 male and 86,753 female) refugees.

Through this initiative, funded by the Government of Japan, health facilities in Kakuma and Kalobeyei camps will have increased capacity to provide quality integrated SRHR services and prevent and manage GBV. The capacity of the refugee community to utilize strengthened SRH and GBV services is a core component of the action.

UNFPA recently signed a Cooperation Understanding with United Nations Human Commision for Refugees (UNHCR) which seeks to expand bilateral platforms and opportunities for strengthening emergency preparedness and response in humanitarian situations. The leadership of both agencies has initiated discussions to actualize the agreement which should translate into improved outcomes for refugees.

UNFPA acknowledges the enormous role played by the Government of Kenya and numerous development actors in addressing the plight of refugees across various locations in the country.

UNFPA is committed to being part of the sustainable solution that restores hope and dignity to refugees while recognizing the critical role and equally pressing needs of host communities.

By so doing, the Fund is committed to ensuring that no one is left behind, a commitment that is line with this year’s theme of Include All, Empower All.