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Humanitarian Aid and Community Social Work in Kenya Refugee Camps

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Social Work
Wordcount: 3832 words Published: 18th May 2020

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Social work is considered as the profession as well as the academic discipline of an individual or a group of people who are concerned with the well-being of any individual, community or families. With the practices of social working, mostly NGO (non-governmental organizations) are involved (Milner, et al., 2015). In general, social work is of two types, which are micro work and macro work. Microwork is associated with the social welfare of an individual or small group, but macro work is involved with the large scale of communities. For the relief or recovery program of the victims in any disaster, these social works act as humanitarian aid. It is known that humanitarian aid is referred to the logistic and material assistance to such people who are suffering from any difficult condition (Gutjahr & Nolz, 2016). These people provide their assistance, especially to the refugees, homeless who are the victim of any war, natural disaster etc.

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In this particular essay, in terms of social work practices, the role of community social workers will be evaluated. These social workers generally work with non-profit organizations to provide help to a specific local population. These professional are also involved with the solving of local issues by the outreaching community and local politician. In this context, this essay is likely to evaluate the role of the social worker for providing support to those organization which are providing help to the refugee camps in Kenya. Community social work professional generally works for such organizations which are involved with the creation of refugees’ camps to provide temporary settlement as well as accommodate a displaced person. In the context of Kenya, it is found that there are around 211,365 refugees exist (UNHCR, 2018). With the NGOs, Community social workers of Kenya are trying to improve the condition of those camp by fulfilling all their needs such as education, health care, security and financial stability. In this study, along with the role and impact of the community social workers on the refugee campaign, it will also discuss the opportunities, challenges and the limitation of those professional in the context of humanitarian aid in Kenya.

Main Body

This section will evaluate the opportunities that the community social workers are getting in the region of Kenya in order to work for the organization which are working for the development of the refugee camps. It will also explore the challenges that those social workers are facing in Kenya. In addition to this limitation of the social work practice in the context of humanitarian aid will also be explored.

It is found that external agencies such as NGO play a significant role in the welfare of the victim community or individuals. This is identified as a beneficial factor for the humanitarian activities of the community social workers. In terms of opportunity, these social professional are able to get governmental support also for working in the organization such as Red Cross, UNOCHA at the relief and recovery stages. Majority of the community welcome those social work professional open-handed during the phases of relief and recovery. Along with the increasing effectiveness, key opportunities of community social worker in the region of Kenya are also enhancing (Talhouk, et al., 2016). Among all opportunities, the most precious opportunity of this social work practice is involved with the contextual response and local humanitarianism. It is profound that the value, as well as the need of community social workers in the organizations which are associated with the creation of refugee camp, is growing in a dynamic way. In this context, local, regional and national actors are continuously increasing the strength and profile.

Apart from that, local humanitarianism is taking place around the world in different sizes. It is known that the Humanitarian leadership academy has opened leading organizations which are a concern with acquiring community social worker professionals for managing the welfare of the refugees in any natural disaster or any environmental crisis. In this era, technological development, these humanitarian agencies of Kenya are also facing advantages in the improvement of their work process. These agencies are likely to install technologies for improving the aid delivery system at the relief and recovery phase. Yet, it is considered that recent technology is representing opportunities for fostering change within the sectors of humanitarian aid system (Belliveau, 2016). In addition to this, the humanitarian supply chain is also influencing economic opportunities in crisis situations also. Altogether, these opportunities offer a vision of the inclusive humanitarian activities in Kenya. In recent days, Kenya is considered as the second biggest refugee-hosting country across the world. In this country, refugees generally live in tents which are provided by the UNHCR. But at the time of the natural disaster, these tents also become a challenge for those refugees to live as there are no places to escape. So it is found that, as these community social workers are working for the huge number of refugees, as an opportunity they are getting the advantages of knowing about the creation of infrastructure involved with education, environment, security and legal system.

It is explored that, in this era of globalization, each individual system such as social structure, political environment, and financial condition are changing in a dynamic way. In this context, society is transforming in a rapid way, which is requiring better supportive activities from the social workers for their clients. Social work professionals are, therefore introducing inequality and isolation. So it is found that, in this scenario, these agencies are facing several key challenges in the region of Kenya. The first and foremost challenge that these community social workers are facing is associated with the healthy development of the refugees (Oloruntoba & Kovács, 2015). It is highlighted that as community social workers are involving with the entire development of the refugees by providing them with a good place for living, so they are not able to focus on the health condition of the children.

Within the refugee camp of Kenya, it is found that almost 80% of those refugee children are left with insufficient treatment. In this context, the healthy development of the refugees has been identified as a crucial challenge for the community social workers. Apart from that, it is also explored that refugee families are also going through poverty, discrimination, which is increasing the illness of those people (Daud, et al., 2016). So, bringing up the healthcare gap by providing them with a financially stable life is becoming a major challenge for these professionals. In accordance with the humanitarian activities, it is found that most of the children are getting abused by their parents for poverty. This has shown that every year, around 10 million child victims are identified every year. In this context, this domestic violence has also been investigated as a challenge of those social workers.

In the context of humanitarian aid, it is explored that along with the opportunities and challenges; there are also some limitations that existed. Social isolation is identified as the most considerable limitation in the pathway of the social workers as it can be harmful than the expectation. As refugees restrict themselves to get involved with other people in terms of social interaction, sometimes their physical, mental as well as spiritual health is getting affected (Waters, 2018). So this behaviour of the refugees has been identified as a limitation of these social workers. In this context, these community social workers are needed to provide education in order to promote social interaction successfully. Homelessness is also identified as a limitation for the community social workers. In the region of Kenya, around 68% of people are homeless, which is putting a negative impact on the health of them in a wide range. As for the social work agencies, providing support to all the refugees in an equal manner are not being possible, so they are not capable of managing the health condition of those people with efficiency (Lischer, 2015). So in this context, in order to develop this condition, it is required for them to create new policies which make them able to afford to house to reduce the rate of homelessness.

The role and impact of social work within the context of humanitarian aid and disaster relief has been discussed in this following part with the help of the refugee camp observation in Kenya. The role of social work is material survival in a Refugee camp, which includes shelter, food and water and the conditions become more complicated when the refugees want to stay in a country. As a social worker, it is the due responsibility of an individual to help the refugees with their needs. There are many roles of social work in a refugee camp. The social work aims in providing adequate food, water, shelter and protection from the violence of the war and providing them with temporary camps.

The role of the social worker is to uphold the respect and dignity of the people staying in the refugee camp of Kenya who has been forced to leave their home due to their life risk caused due to wars or any natural disaster and has taken shelter in other countries to save their life. Coordination of the action of the  social workers help them to provide better response and understanding of the needs of the refugee during their transfer, journey and integration in the countries from where they have come from during the emergency situation such as wars or natural calamity in Somalia (Lischer, 2015).

The social work aims in providing attention to give support to the unaccompanied children, young people and an elderly man who have various health problems such as fever or they have been handicapped during the wars. The social work takes administrative support strategy for the affected person who represent the ground level needs of refugees of Kenya. The social workers aim in supporting the refuges of Kenya from a life-threatening situation and giving them psychological support and other forms of support (Rubin & Babbie, 2016). This consists of reaching the number of refugees who have faced the war situation and saving them from the risk of their life. The NGO provides proper life supporting drugs to the refugee of Kenya by the help of The German Technical Cooperation, and they treated near about 1800 people.

The UNHCR or the UN Refugee Agency a social work organisation who has aimed in recognising the refugee crisis all over the world in places like Kenya, Australia, Africa where there is always problem for a refugee for complex government policies. Where they aim in safeguarding the religious rights of the people and to eradicate the life threats of the people (Miller, 2017). They have tried to maintain the health and education for the unaccompanied children who have lost their parents during the war. According to the commissioners for refugees in Kenya when the migrants began to come to Dadaab, the NGO has first tried to give proper education to the migrants who have arrived from Somalia. The NGO has tried to work hard to give the migrants proper knowledge and jobs.

The impact of social work in the refugee camp of Kenya has increased in much extent. Due to enhancement of the social duties by the social workers it has helped the refugee in much extent. The unaccompanied children in the refugee camp of Kenya has gained quality educations and training from the social workers which has led to the upliftment of the knowledge of the children who have lost their parents in the emergency conditions (UNHCR, 2018). The social workers has helped the refugees to provide them with proper lifesaving drugs and saved the refugees who have got injured in the war of Somalia. Around 1800 refugees are treated in the camp of Kenya by German Technical Cooperation.

This following portion will evaluate the ethical, political as well as theoretical contribution behind the humanitarian aid.

Ethical: In terms of ethical consideration, for the construction of the humanitarian aid, some principles are required to be maintained. Those principles are involved with the maintenance of neutrality, humanity, independence and impartiality (UNOCHA, 2018). The neutrality stands as the restriction for not involving with any kinds of controversies in forms of racial, religious or political nature. The principle of maintaining humanity heals with the process of treating mankind humanly as well as by saving their lives from any circumstances. At their core, these social workers of Kenya are bound to provide their concern on the intervention along with providing the guidance to save lives as well as domain human dignity (ICRC, 2016). Based on the four principles, these practices are allowed to establish and maintain the affected people who are in any complex emergency. It is found that the essential elements of effective humanitarian aid are associated with ensuring compliance and the promoting of those principles.

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Ethical underpinnings of humanitarian aid are mainly incorporated with the basic principles of the humanitarian aid as it governs the way through which this will carry out its responsibilities. It is found that in addition to those core principles, there are also other two principles exist which direct those practices for different types of social care agencies (ELRHA, 2016). Those principles are proselytism and universality, which convey their responsibility for not exploiting the vulnerabilities along with the duty of helping each other in tough condition.

In the context of humanitarian aid, it is found that community social workers are facing issues at the time of serving the refugee camps regarding the maintenance of impartiality. In accordance with the ethics of humanitarian aids, social workers are required to provide priority to the most urgent cases by avoiding the nationality, region, or gender. But in the area of the community social workers who are involved with the welfare of the refugees are mostly concerned with the humanitarian action for existing refuges also, which is creating distinction for the others’.

Theoretical: At the time of intervention of humanitarian aid, three theories are considered to be overviewed. These theories have left an ineradicable footprint on international law related to the welfare of the population worldwide along with the refugees of Kenya. In terms of the theoretical underpinnings of the humanitarian aid, the first theory conveys that during the time of using force by the states in order to provide response to the human rights violation, the basic purpose of this is to protect the integrity of the international law by punishing the violation of the international norms (Tabaklar, et al., 2015). In accordance with this theoretical concept, each individual state is able to punish any violence of other countries also. But in recent days, this concept has been rejected based on the principle of sovereign equality.

Among those three theoretical concepts, the second theory of the intervention of humanitarian aid has been passed from the obscurity of war and peace. This theory attracts the concern of state on the causes of undertaking war for providing guidelines to their own state. Under this theory, states are used to use their forces for protecting human rights for the benefits of their own as well as foreign people (Tabaklar, et al., 2015). The final theoretical concept which is involved with the humanitarian aid is for contributing a better explanation of the purpose and scope of the state authorities for providing protection to human rights.

Political: It is found that the Kenyan public, as well as political environment, is largely negative towards the refugees. As this country is identified as the second largest refugee country in the world, the government has redirected to the United Nations to expel all the refugees from their country in order to draw the concerns of the social workers upon the banditry of resources. Along with the passing time, negativity about the refugees in the political context of Kenya is also likely to be increased. As per the 23 out of the 27 countries in Kenya have conveyed that they are willing to host the refugees in an effective way (ICRC, 2016). On the other hand, interestingly it is shown that 55% of people in this country are accepting those refugees and are also likely to provide them with accommodation in their own house. In general, the perception of Kenya government about the refugees are involved with the crime, insecurity and illegality. For the increasing security issues, Vice president of Kenya has also blamed the refugees, which have been reinforced by the media exposure also. It has put a negative impact on the mind setup of the general people also. By overviewing the condition of the refugees, social workers have led Kenya to enforce refugee law for their protection. In order to have the set out the rights as well as treatment for the refugee Refugees Act 2006 has been introduced in Kenya (Refworld, 2006). This act was created by the Department of refugee affairs to redirect the responsibilities of the social workers for upholding the refugees’ status. In the year of 2017, for the welfare of the refugees, a new refugee’s bill has also been passed by the government as well as civil society representative. In accordance with this bill, greater provision towards the self-reliance of the refugees, including the permits of land and work has been provided.


By analysing the above discussion, it is concluded that the community social workers are involved with the welfare of the community or a wide group of people. In this context, it is explored that in Kenya, these community social workers are associated with the social activities for the improvement of the condition of the refugee camp by providing the well-settled living condition, health assistance as well as security. But in the region of Kenya, for these community social workers along with the opportunities, challenges and limitations also exist. In terms of opportunity, it is found that for humanitarian aid in forms of refugee camp assistance, these professionals are able to get technological endorsement for serving the victims with efficiency. Besides those opportunities, in forms of the challenges, it has emphasized that health development, proper health care assistance and children abuse have been come up as the greatest challenge for these social workers also. The role of social work is material survival in a Refugee camp, which includes shelter, food and water and the conditions become more complicated when the refugees want to stay in a country. As a social worker, it is the due responsibility of an individual to help the refugees with their needs. Besides that, in terms of ethical consideration, this humanitarian aid is comprised of the basic principles which are involved with independence, impartiality, neutrality and humanity.


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