Hard lessons in the world’s largest refugee complex

A school in Dagahaley Camp, one of three in the Dadaab complex. (Photo: Yayoi Segi-Vltchek/UNESCO Nairobi)

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Somali refugees’ struggle for education in the Dadaab camps in northeastern Kenya, which we focused on in a post earlier this month, comes under the spotlight in an article from IRIN that builds on the findings of the 2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report.

Apart from the basic problem of a lack of funding at the three camps at Dadaab – which make up the world’s largest refugee complex – IRIN draws attention to the damage done to quality of education when there is a serious lack of trained teachers and of teaching materials. And adolescents with few opportunities to continue their education, the article points out, are easy pickings for militia recruiters.

An article about the broader picture in Dadaab on The Guardian’s Global Development site emphasizes the scale of the problem – Dadaab, established 20 years ago, is now Kenya’s fourth-largest city, though no Kenyans live there. The article also picks up on the underlying problem identified in the 2010 EFA Global Monitoring Report: refugees like those in Dadaab are trapped in the international community’s artificial divide between short-term humanitarian relief and long-term development aid.

As Elizabeth Campbell of Refugees International tells The Guardian, “the humanitarian funding structure is simply not set up to deal with people who have been living in crisis for 20 years.”

One of those who has been living at Dadaab since the camps’ beginning, Mohamad Ali, 79, points to an even deeper underlying problem: the failure of the international community to halt the refugee flow by bringing stability to Somalia. “What we need is a lasting political solution for Somalia,” Ali tells The Guardian, “and it’s time the world focused efforts and resources to achieve this.”

This entry was posted in Aid, Basic education, Conflict, Developing countries, Donors, Human rights, Marginalization, Millennium Development Goals, Out-of-school children, Refugees and displaced people. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Hard lessons in the world’s largest refugee complex

  1. Rita says:

    The point that struck me most about this blog was that without adequate teachers and supplies, these children become easy pickings for militia recruiters. Education, besides being a bridge for a better life, has often served a shield from unnecessary military action. For some reason this blog reminded me of the Vietnam war and how students were free from military recruitment. I had never really put the two together. I know that more educated people are less likely to be victims of crimes or violence or involved in radical groups, but I always assumed it was because of the knowledge imparted and their ability to make active choices. Now I see that that is only half of the equation. Hope for something more gives people the courage to wait out a negative political period and strive for more proactive means of improving their lifestyle and living conditions.


  2. Adrienne Hartley says:

    All children need an opportunity for a good education and to continue their education. Education is the key to solving many problems that exist today.


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