Kenya faces a range of humanitarian challenges including recurrent drought, malnutrition and food insecurity, disease outbreaks, and inter-communal conflicts over resources that are often compounded by political issues. There is a remaining presence of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from the 2007/08 post-election violence. Other IDPs emanate from evictions and sporadic conflict across the country. Kenya also hosts the largest refugee population in the world. There are more than 600,000 refugees in Kenya, of whom over 450,000 are in Dadaab, nearly 100,000 are in Kakuma and over 50,000 in Nairobi. 

Humanitarian coordination

Coordination of humanitarian response is led by the Government of Kenya and takes place at national and county levels. The Ministry of State for Special Programmes (MoSSP, under the Office of the Prime Minister) at the Permanent Secretary level has structured the Crisis Response Centre to provide oversight to humanitarian coordination with national and international organizations through the Crisis Consultative Forum (CCF). During emergencies, the CCF is chaired by the MoSSP Permanent Secretary on a needs basis. The CCF brings together technical personnel from line ministries and the humanitarian sector co-leads who are guided by the UN and NGO Humanitarian Partnership Team led by the Humanitarian Coordinator. Furthermore, individual sector meetings take place in Nairobi, as do inter-sector meetings. Monthly informational meetings of the Kenya Humanitarian Forum also take place in Nairobi, chaired by OCHA. At district level, District Steering Groups (DSGs) and District Disaster Management Committees (DDMC) are leading multi-sector response meetings, chaired by District Commissioners. While the UN Cluster System is not activated in Kenya, the Government-led sectoral approach is well established and supported by global Cluster lead agencies. There are challenges faced by district-level coordination, especially in light of capacity gaps where DSGs and DDMCs are not fully functional.

The UN in Kenya

In Kenya, the Resident Representative of UNDP also serves as the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. The RC leads and coordinates UN efforts to support the Government in creating and sustaining an enabling environment for the promotion of human rights, good governance and the improvement of the quality of life and well-being of the people of Kenya by reducing poverty, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable groups and regions. The HC leads humanitarian coordination and liaison with the Government of Kenya. There are more than 25 UN agencies operating in Kenya, including the worldwide headquarters of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and UN-Habitat.

Humanitarian Financing in Kenya

Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan

The Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan (EHRP) is an inter-agency strategy which aims to outline and prioritize humanitarian response activities and to mobilize the required resources. The EHRP is developed by UN agencies and NGOs in consultation with Government of Kenya and donor partners.
The current 2013+ EHRP is the last of a 3 year strategy running from January 2011 until December 2013. The strategy focuses on the ongoing provision of humanitarian assistance and protection for those affected by emergencies, particularly those affected by drought and food insecurity and refugees, but also aims to contribute to improved resilience of vulnerable populations. In its final year emphasis is also placed on the integration of humanitarian priorities into national and development frameworks.  In 2013, the EHRP requested a total of $744 million.  In 2012, $797 million was requested of which 73% has been received to date.

Emergency Response Fund

The ERF was established in June 2009 with 3 Key objectives:

  • To support rapid response at the onset of a disaster.
  • For strategic gap filling in non-food interventions, geographically or sectorally within the context of an overall response plan such as the current Emergency Humanitarian Response Plan.
  • To provide support to early action activities in order to mitigate emerging needs and to prevent escalations in existing humanitarian situations.

The Fund is managed by the Humanitarian Coordinator with support from OCHA. The project review process is undertaken by sector coordinators and the Technical Review Board with final approval from the HC. An Advisory Board meets periodically reviews of the fund and advises on the overall operation and direction of the fund.
Contributions to the ERF since June 2009 to 2011 amounted to $6,343,360. On 24 April 2012 and following the 25 August 2011 Pledging Conference for the Horn of Africa Crisis, the African Union (AU) announced an allocation of $2 million to be channeled through the ERF. In 2012, 11 projects have been funded to date totaling $ 1.6 million.

Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)

Since the establishment of the upgraded Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) in 2006, Kenya has benefited significantly through both the rapid response and underfunded emergency facility. As of June 2012, Kenya has received total allocation from the Fund of $129million.  Of this amount, $ 95 million has been allocated through the rapid response window and $34 million through the under-funded emergencies window.  The sectoral breakdown of these allocations is shown below.

Most recently, the CERF made a rapid response allocation of $2.2 million to Kenya in support of early action activities in agriculture and livestock and nutrition in light of an increased risk of poor rains in drought hit parts of north eastern Kenya.