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Strong Again! - Promoting Economic Independence through Vocational Skills and Functional Literacy for Young Refugees in Kakuma

We aim to uphold economic independence through comprehensive skills training and literacy, to enable refugees run businesses and find jobs.

Photo of Muzabel Welongo
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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

Since 2010 SAVIC has been dedicated to promoting self-reliance for young refugees through basic literacy, tailoring skills, and hairdressing skills. Our training programs focus on trades locally applicable to the business market, and building economic independence when they return back home. With adequate skills, adolescents and young refugees become more self-sufficient and choose to postpone marriage, and are able to prevent themselves from unintended pregnancies. Many girls who had dropped out of school and attended our vocational skills classes have been able to gain new skills and start a new life. Our vocational training programs are always accompanied by additional skills in entrepreneurship and reproductive health. Since 2012, SAVIC adopted the Kenya government’s ABET (Adult Basic Education Training) Curriculum for functional literacy. We also developed curricular in business skills, tailoring, hairdressing, and communicative English. Our literacy and vocational skills program are special, giving refugees package skills in literacy and numeracy, a trade, and the skills to make that trade a business, to earn a living. https://vimeo.com/110751066; www.savicafrica.org

WHO BENEFITS?

We target refugees aged 13-28 in Kakuma Refugee Camp, which currently hosts around 170,000 refugees. With funding, we would wish to also reach urban refugees in Nairobi. Refugees entirely depend on humanitarian aid, and only 1/3 of children attend school. Education and skills training offers the best opportunity for refugees to heal from trauma and losses they survived in their home countries.

PROTOTYPE

The active involvement of the refugee community is crucial to achieving any success in promoting education and vocational skills among refugees. At the beginning of every program, we conduct interviews and group discussions with fellow refugees to take part in the training. For this contribution, we will also interview and hold focus-group discussions with at least 100 randomly selected refugees from the target direct beneficiaries, to learn more about what they think can provide the most market opportunity and restore self-reliance. Our implementing team will be empowered through training, development of curriculum, and working with other partners to develop publications that will help improve teachers' capacity of delivery. Training will maintain a special focus on entrepreneurship skills, literacy, as well as numeracy in order to enable the refugees enter into the business market soon after completing their training.

FEEDBACK

Since creation of SAVIC (Solidarity & Advocacy with Vulnerable Individuals in Crisis) in September 2010, we have been working close with the UNHCR and different agencies operating in Kakuma. We are very grateful to gain UNHCR approval for us to run our activities as a refugee-run local NGO, which made it possible for our organization to be Registered by the Government of Kenya.
We have had active partnership with the Norwegian Refugee Council's Skills for Life Project in Kakuma, Lutheran World Federation - Education Unit Kakuma, the National Council of Churches of Kenya - RH Project Kakuma. The Refugee Consortium of Kenya also offered much support to us by talking to our students about human rights.
Majority of our members and volunteers are refugees from DR Congo, South-Sudan, Somalia, Burundi, and Uganda, who understand better the conditions and needs of the camp.

SKILL SHARE (optional)

As a result of war that and instabilities that have torn my country (DR. Congo) since 1996, I have been in Kakuma since 2010, where I have been actively involved as a literacy trainer, an English teacher, and of course as the Chief Executive of my local NGO, SAVIC.
I would greatly appreciate for feedback on how to promote my idea into a more tangible program that can be achieved at low cost. I also hope to receive partnership and capacity building support to maximize the impact of this idea.

TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF

I'm Muzabel Welongo, from Sud-Kivu, D.R.C, and live in Kenya as a refugee since 2010. I am doing a BA in Economics at the Catholic University of EA, Nairobi. I am the founder and Chief Executive of SAVIC, a local NGO which promotes basic literacy and reproductive health among young people in Kakuma.

IS THIS AN IDEA THAT YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION WOULD LIKE TO TAKE FORWARD?

  • Yes, I have implementation capacity and am interested in and able to make this idea real in my community.

9 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Vestine Umubyeyi
Team

Hello Muzabel, the impact of this idea in communities where it started is very interesting and I wish to see the project implemented in the whole camp because in that case many children will not have to leave school in order to help parents earn their living. Thank you, Vestine.

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congrats on this post being featured in this week's highlights! https://openideo.com/blog/refugee-education-weekly-highlights-june-05-2015

Photo of Klara Pelcl
Team

Hello Muzabel,
It was amazing to read about your idea and the actual impact that you are already making. I am working on a Teacher Support Network idea (https://openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/ideas/teacher-support-network-website-magazine) that would help refugee teachers and volunteers from all over the world connect, share and discuss stories and best practices online and through a magazine (where the online option would not work). Let me know if you would like to connect.

Photo of Muzabel Welongo
Team

Hi Klara,
First, thank you very much for commenting on my idea and for your intention to connect. I am very much sure we can work together towards your activity for a teacher support network in refugee camps. I assure you, this will make a very big impact. We can always connect when you have time. My work email is muz.welongo@savicafrica.org, Skype: muzabel.welongo.

Thank you once again.

Muz

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hi Muzabel
Thank you for including within the team on this project. I look forward to working with you on it.
Regards,
Simon

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hi Muzabel
Would you be happy to send me your email address please as I would like to include you in an email I am sending to the Community Champions; Vestine, Fartun and Daniel, about my project proposal.
Many thanks, Simon

Photo of Muzabel Welongo
Team

@SimonDevine
Hi Simon, I am happy to here that you have programs running in Kakuma. I visited my organization three weeks ago, and the challenges of overcrowding and limited buildings is seemingly increasing. First there is a bigger number of children and young people out of school now because of limited facilities. Second, even those who get chance to be registered in school face a bigger challenges of 1:200 teacher to learner ratio in most schools, not to mention the mabati-built temporary classes which generate more heat to the normal heat of Kakuma.
I have loved to view your contribution, and I will try my best to come up with a good comment.

Regards,

Muzabel

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hi Muzabel,
I agree class sizes are too high and enrolment could be increased, although one impacts on the other and compounded by low teacher training levels is a big problem in the camp....this is a very complex problem.
I look forward to your comments on my project idea.
Regards
Simon

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hi Muzabel,
We here at the World Wide Education Project currently have programs in Kakuma refugee camp including teacher training, psychosocial support and classroom construction. We have recently returned from our latest field work there and have experienced the challenges your submission raises such as lack of resources, limited options for young people and the need for community led vocational training.
I have also submitted a project proposal to this challenge, perhaps you may wish to comment on our approach with your experience of Kakuma refugee camp. Our project aims to target lack of resources, lack of teacher training and experience, financial constraints and also large class sizes. We are utilising the rear wall of the 'Mabati' classroom, similar to one in your first picture.
I would really appreciate your comments on our plan which we are currently developing.
Please find the project proposal here: https://openideo.com/challenge/refugee-education/ideas/educational-resource-wall
Thank you!