2015 through 2017, Heshima Kenya served as a Child Protection Implementing Partner to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) under the mandate of identifying and protecting unaccompanied refugee minors.
The scope of our project covered protection for approximately 23,000 unaccompanied refugee children who reside in urban areas and throughout Kenya. In partnership with the UNHCR, Heshima Kenya provided direct services to over 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children and indirect services to over 44,00 in 2016 and 2017 cumulatively. We opened a satellite community outreach office in Eastleigh and conduct missions to Meru, Mobasa and Nakuru.
The capacity of Heshima Kenya’s service to the refugee community under our UNHCR partnership included:
Ensuring Protection: Heshima Kenya staff supported refugee children in the formal processes to certify that the child’s best interests are being met and that they can obtain necessary documentation to aid in identification and resettlement. This included conducting Best Interests Determinations (BIDs), Best Interests Assessments (BIAs), family tracing, home visits, and birth registration and certification.
Providing Care: Heshima Kenya facilitated foster care arrangements and provided for children’s basic needs by provision of food baskets, clothing, and material goods. To ensure that refugee children were not only physically safe, but also emotionally supported, our staff provided counseling and specialized support for the most vulnerable cases.
Fostering Community: One of the primary goals of our UNHCR partnership was to provide community-based support systems for refugee children in Kenya. This was achieved through creating community support and advocacy committees, community outreach workshops, and cultural sensitivity training to local government officials and magistrates.