Islamic Relief has improved basic services for people living in Africa’s largest refugee complex, as well as local communities.

The Dadaab complex, in Kenya, is reportedly home to about 500,000 people, largely from neighbouring Somalia – some of whom have been sheltering in the camp for over two decades. Living conditions are tough inside Dadaab, which is overcrowded, underfunded, and currently facing closure.

Islamic Relief has been helping vulnerable people in the complex since 2012, and launched its most recent programme following a UNHCR request to support more programmes in Ifo camp. The integrated programme, which completed earlier this year, improved access to water and sanitation as well as healthcare and education for refugees and communities living near the camp.

Health points, cold rooms and community health

A mother and child accessing health services by Islamic Relief in Ifo camp.

A mother and child accessing health services by Islamic Relief in Ifo camp.

We maintained health points, and repaired and set up cold rooms and cold chains that are vital in storing and transporting lifesaving vaccines. We increased laboratory and diagnostic capacity for deadly diseases such as malaria and cholera. Mass health screenings and immunisation campaigns were carried out, and 150 people living with HIV received specialist support. We also trained local health workers to produce a strategy to improve community health in the area, and formed support groups for mothers.

Water, latrines and child-friendly schools

Four new water points and generators were installed, and host communities now benefit from two deep wells – equipped with water kiosks – and ten new latrines. We helped local people to come together in water management committees, to maintain their new water sources.

In addition, we connected four local schools to the water supply. We also formed health clubs in 20 schools, and set up new hand-washing points to promote good hygiene. Primary schools received new child-friendly toilets, and renovated classrooms and fenced-in school grounds provided children with safe learning environments.

Around 100,000 people benefitted from the ambitious programme. It complements other humanitarian and development projects delivered by Islamic Relief in Kenya, including a scheme to improve health and nutrition for women and children in Mandera and Wajir.