Heshima Kenya's mission is to advocate for awareness, rights, education, and support for refugee girls. We participate in various panels and policy groups to advance dialogue and solutions for the neglect of Nairobi's urban refugees and the protection of unaccompanied refugee children and youth. This includes our work surrounding education and outreach to help refugee girls access protection and services.
Heshima Kenya conducts research to expose human rights violations experienced by unaccompanied refugee girls and young women in an effort to strengthen and reform policies and advance the quality of life for refugee youth around the world.
Community Outreach and Mobilization: We make active strides to strengthen local networks by promoting awareness and education on gender-based violence prevention. The outreach program focuses on four major components:
- Our team conducts workshops with community members to share information about human rights and to increase the visibility of our services through information campaigns about Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) within refugee communities.
- Women’s Ambassador Groups that mobilize and empower refugee women to strengthen community networks through life skills certification and literacy courses.
- Junior Ambassador Groups where graduates of our Girls’ Empowerment Project ignite community dialogues around SGBV prevention and response, life skills, and human rights. Through community trainings, the Ambassador Groups identify vulnerable cases for referrals to Heshima Kenya’s core programs.
- Partnering with like-minded organizations.
Livelihoods: We provide training and support for entrepreneurial refugee women to foster independence. Our livelihoods program serves the most basic needs of refugee women, including:
- Psycho-social support to survivors of SGBV;
- Business and financial literacy training;
- Focused group discussions;
- Tour of successful local businesses;
- Small business loans
The Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) Working Group: In 2009, Heshima Kenya established and began leading the SGBV Stakeholders Committee in Nairobi. There, we created a framework that operates with UNHCR and our partner organizations to address referral strategies and effective dialogue among survivors of SGBV. Since its founding, Heshima Kenya has been better able to identify vulnerable women and children in Nairobi who have experienced SGBV and help them find shelter, education, and psychosocial counseling.
Understanding and Reporting Trends: Heshima Kenya’s outreach has enabled us to begin collecting data to understand trends within the Somali and growing urban Congolese community, especially in terms of migration patterns, risks, and exploitation in transit, reproductive health needs, and barriers to livelihood assistance that result in higher rates of prostitution. For further information, please see our reports.