RefuSHE's mission is to advocate for awareness, rights, education, and support for refugee girls and women. 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.
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 RefuSHE’s core programs.
- Partnering with like-minded organizations.
We provide training and support for entrepreneurial refugee women to foster independence. Our livelihoods program serves the most basic needs of refugee women, including:
- Small Business Loans: After successfully completing community mobilization training, women are invited to submit business proposals. Once an applicant is vetted and approved, loans are distributed and formal programming begins. Seed grants are available before or after small business loans.
- Psychosocial Counseling: Participants are offered group and individual counseling, ensuring that they have the space to discuss challenges they are facing.
- Case Management: All loan recipients have access to food baskets and housing support; medical and material support are provided as needed.
- Business and Financial Literacy Training: Participants learn key business skills, such as budgeting, record keeping, marketing, banking, and planning. In addition, they have the opportunity to learn vocational skills, such as the production of soap, beadwork, jewelry, tie & dye, and peanut butter.
- Adult Education Courses: In collaboration with our community partners, we provide access to English, Kiswahili, and arithmetic classes.
- Tour of Successful Local Businesses: Our Community Outreach team takes new loan recipients on a tour of local shops to connect and learn from successful refugee entrepreneurs.
The Sexual Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) Working Group
In 2009, RefuSHE 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, RefuSHE 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
RefuSHE’s outreach has enabled us to begin collecting data to understand trends within the urban refugee 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.