Young and Restless: Harnessing the Economic Resilience of Displaced Youth in Nairobi

Josh Chaffin
Women's Refugee Commission
Resource Type: 
Publication Date: 
Aug, 2012

Young men and women displaced in Nairobi, Kenya, face many barriers to earning an income. Urban violence, police harassment, restricted access to formal markets, disrupted education and a lack of safe spaces in the community are among the main barriers to attending school and training programs. Refugee youth report that education and training, as well as personal security, are their highest priorities. Young people appear to have little knowledge of their rights, of refugee laws and policies or of the few programs that exist to assist them. Very few refugee and asylee youth—perhaps fewer than 500 individuals citywide—access any kind of economic strengthening program.

As many as 200,000 refugees and asylum seekers from Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi may now reside in Nairobi.1 As access to services such as secondary and tertiary education and training is increasingly strained in the country’s refugee camps, youth continue to arrive in Nairobi’s urban and peri-urban areas, where they struggle to make ends meet.

Workforce Development
Sub-Saharan Africa
Conflict Area
Economic Empowerment
Orphans & Vulnerable Children
Urban Development
Vocational Education