Promoting Life Skills and Livelihoods

This is a pilot project jointly implemented by Swisscontact and the Norwegian Refugees Council (NRC) through funding from the Swiss Agency for Development Co-operation (SDC). The implementation began in May 2013 in Kakuma which lies in Turkana County in Northern Kenya. The project targets both the refugee camp that currently hosts approximate 140,000 people from mainly Somalia, South Sudan and the host community. The area is arid and characterized by frequent ethnic and resource-based conflicts. The majority of local residents are pastoralists. Due to the community's nomadic lifestyle, recurring conflicts and other socio-economic constraints, the population has limited access to educational services and even fewer opportunities for post-primary or alternative education for youth. The project promotes development of market oriented, flexible and low cost skills development. The primary beneficiaries of this pilot project are the unemployed youth, both male and female from the refugee camp (250 youth, 50% female) and the host community (250 youth, 50% female). The project encourages adolescent girls and young mothers to participate and benefit because they are more vulnerable to the livelihood challenges facing the area than men.

The Project

The approach is strongly focused on the local market opportunities and enabling the trainees to immediately generate income out of the skills acquired. Trainees are identified from the refugee and host community and taken through career guidance and counseling before forming the so called Learning Groups. This process is participatory and also involves other relevant stakeholders who include the local area leadership, civil society and other agencies responsible for administration of refugee affairs such as the United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Government of Kenya.

Training curricula based for 9 selected marketable trades that are suitable for the beneficiaries are developed. The trades were identified through a market scan that explored the economic opportunities in the area. The trades are; leather and tannery, art and music, computer repair, phone repair, tool making, building, horticulture, waste management and bakery. In addition to the technical training, youth receive other essential life skills training and basic literacy and numeracy necessary for enhancing young people's and adolescent girls' capacity to take control of their lives and increase the chance of better livelihood.


2016 Results:

  • 1,413 young people received career guidance in various trades.
  • 28 new learning Groups were formed in different trades.
  • 9 Learning Groups (three in the refugees’ camp and six in the host community) comprising 280 youths (193 female) commenced technical skills training in December 2016.
  • 20 Technical Service Providers-six from the refugee community and eight female were recruited, trained and facilitated technical training.
  • 40 young mothers underwent tailor-made, three-day life skills training.
  • 2 new Mavuno Groups were formed and trained on group savings and lending, as well as financial literacy.
  • A youth life skills event facilitated by Swisscontact was held on 28th November 2016, as part of ‘16 days of gender activism’. A total of 1,150 youths (600 females and 550 male) from both the refugee and the host communities participated.

Project partner


Project countries

  • Kenya

Project links

Project duration

2013 - 2016


  • SDC

Working area


Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation
Hardturmstrasse 123
CH-8005 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 454 17 17
Fax +41 44 454 17 97