Kenya

Information and Education for Dadaab Refugees

Our Prime radios are helping to inform and protect women and children in the world’s largest refugee camp – Dadaab in Kenya near the Somalia border.

In times of crisis, food, water, shelter and medicine are critical. Yet so is access to trusted information and being able to see after dark.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou can help thousands of destitute Somali women in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camps gain access to reliable information and light. With our Prime radios designed for groups, women can listen to the new Daadab community radio station where refugees have been trained as presenters, journalists and station managers.  The BBC’s Somali service and the local station Star FM which also broadcasts in the Somali language are popular with women.  All air programmes on health and hygiene, child care, violence against women, peace and reconciliation, the environment, as well as updates from Somalia. Even radio-based primary education lessons in the Somali language will help keep the children learning. For just $50, dozens of vulnerable Somali women and children will benefit.

In addition, we’re raising funds to deliver safe and clean LED lights to provide a greater degree of safety and security for women and children. Light after dark also helps see snakes, scorpions and other threats prevalent in the harsh camps. Our lights range in price from $12-$25 and will benefit a family with priority given to women and child-headed families. We  distribute our own Solarstor phone charger with an LED light and Nokero solar lights.

How our radios are helping

Lifeline Energy has been working in Dadaab since 2007 – distributing solar-powered radios and lights to women and girls. Working in collaboration with UNHCR and NGOs, our radios have reached more than 15,000 women and indirectly an estimated 40, 000 refugees have benefitted from our radios.

Recently, a UNHCR representative told us that the radios “go a long way in enhancing and strengthening the access of information to the refugee community especially women and girls who are at the grass root level and are over-burdened with house chores.  This has also helped school children with their educational programmes that are aired on a regular basis,” she added.

Lifeline Energy was invited to Dadaab after the UNHCR conducted a survey which found that only 1 in 500 women had radio listening access. It was revealed that the refugees wanted practical information on childcare, nutrition, health, FGM, in addition to the news and learning about what is going on in Somalia.

How our lights are helping

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn addition to radios Lifeline Energy has also distributed lights to girls in primary school, to support girls education and improve attendance and retention of girls in school, thereby improving women’s leadership in the future.

Farhia, a 17 year-old Somali who has spent her entire life in Dadaab, received one of our lights. She told us that for the first time she would be able to study at night or even in the early morning before the sun rises. She had no source of light whatsoever. Describing the light as a “weapon” for graduating from secondary school and learning English, Farhia said the light is her way out of Dadaab with finally being able to study.

After dark there are limited lighting options, let alone lighting for girls to study. Kerosene costs two to three times more in the camps than the rest of Kenya, making it unaffordable for most families. Poor quality batteries for flashlights are also expensive and tend to be the preserve of men since security is their responsibility. The lights also provide a way to help warn against nighttime threats, such as robbery, attack and scorpions.

Provide comfort and light after dark

“When I was last there in February 2011, the camp population was around 325,000. Today I’m reading it’s close to 600,000 with people arriving daily. The environment for women and children, especially the new arrivals, test the human condition,” says Kristine Pearson, Lifeline Energy’s CEO. “Women have told me how terrified they are at night. Also, access to radio and being able to listen to the BBC’s Somali service and the local stations provide psycho-social support.”

“I saw immediately the impact such a radio could have on impoverished peoples in Africa and the world.”

-Tom Hanks