Factors influencing refugees access to sustainable livelihoods; a case of refugees living in Kayole, Nairobi County, Kenya
Refugee problem in the Sub-Saharan Africa has worryingly grown over the last decades. Kenya has over 606,195 asylum seekers and refugees, the largest number in the Eastern and Central African Region. Refugee operation in Kenya is governed under the domesticated Kenyan 2006 Refugee act, from the international instruments of 1951 UN and 1969 OAU conventions. Refugees living in the Kenyan Government designated camps receive direct material support; food and non-food assistance from the Government and local community (land), UNHCR and its partners. Owing to constrained resources, refugees in urban set ups receive no direct assistance and have continued to employ own coping mechanisms to provide for their daily basic needs. In search oflivelihoods, refugees devise coping mechanisms that expose them to protection related risks. This adds to their already numerous refugee life related challenges. In-order to have an in-depth and informed understanding of the factors that influence refugees' access to livelihoods in urban set up, a field study targeting purposively sampled refugees in Nairobi's Kayole estate, through qualitative data analysis, was undertaken to provide answers to the pertinent protection concerns of refugees and asylum seekers. The researcher used descriptive cross-sectional survey design in the study to collect data. The study involved use of refugee leaders and volunteers who assisted in identification and mobilisation of respondent households and individuals. Various research instruments; questionnaires, interview and focus group discussion gnides, desk review of reports and observation checklist were used in data collection through focus group discussions, observation and interviews with individuals and key informants. Qualitative techniques; triangulation and objective analysis were used to analyse data collected that provided a comprehensive understanding of the factors influencing) urban refugees' access to sustainable livelihood. The study identified the main factors influencing refugees' access to sustainable livelihood in urban areas. The factors identified as inhibiting refugees' potential for self reliance include; Kenyan legal, economic and social environment. The findings therefore reveal of the hurdles that refugees have to endure in their pursuit for self reliance in urban areas as they do not receive direct humanitarian support. The study findings recommend the need for strengthened advocacy for refugees' economic rights and sensitisation oflocal population on refugees' plight.