Strengthening Socio-Economic Integration of Refugees in Kakuma, Kenya through Mentor Training

This case study demonstrates the effectiveness of mentor training in empowering both mentors and beneficiaries, contributing to the socio-economic integration of refugees in the Kakuma Refugee Camp.
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Project: Skills for Life (S4L)

Location: Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya

Client: Swisscontact

Challenge:

Swisscontact, a non-profit organisation, faced challenges integrating refugees into the Kenyan labour market through their Skills for Life (S4L) project in the Kakuma Refugee Camp. The project aimed to equip refugees and the host community with technical, financial, and life skills for improved livelihoods. However, Swisscontact trainers lacked the skills to effectively engage with beneficiaries, hindering progress due to factors like religious divides, trust-building difficulties, and limited knowledge of mentoring practices.

Solution:

Mowgli Mentoring (now The Human Edge) implemented a 6-month mentor training programme for the S4L project team, including Swisscontact staff and community-based trainers (some of whom were refugees). The programme, designed for the unique context of the refugee camp, addressed challenges like internet limitations and cultural sensitivities. It covered:

  • Developing and strengthening mentoring skills: Participants received online training on active listening, problem-solving, and goal setting.
  • Ongoing support: Mentors received continuous support for 6 months to apply their learnings, share challenges, and seek guidance.

Results:

  • Improved beneficiary engagement: The trained mentors learned to build rapport and trust with beneficiaries, fostering a more open and collaborative environment.
  • Enhanced beneficiary outcomes: Beneficiaries reported feeling more motivated, confident, and equipped to overcome challenges.
  • Increased self-efficacy: Mentors gained confidence in their ability to deliver impactful mentoring, empowering them to support beneficiaries beyond the programme.

Key takeaways:

  • Mentor training equips individuals with the necessary skills to build trust, provide constructive feedback, and create a safe space for beneficiaries.
  • Culturally sensitive approaches are crucial in refugee camp settings to address religious divides and build trust.
  • Mentoring programmes can be a powerful tool for socio-economic integration, empowering refugees and host communities to achieve their full potential.