Dear prayer partners,

On 8 April, a Kenyan court temporarily halted the government’s plans to forcefully evict over 400,000 refugees from two of Africa’s largest camps, but the fate of the two camps remains uncertain. This injunction came after Kenya’s interior ministry gave the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) a 14-day ultimatum to formulate a plan to close the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps on 24 March. The UNHCR said it recognised “the tremendous generosity that the people and government of Kenya have demonstrated towards refugees for many decades and the need to resolve situations of longstanding displacement”. However, the UNHCR warned of a catastrophe if refugees are ejected from these camps.

The Dadaab refugee camp is situated near the Somali border and the Kakuma refugee camp is near the borders of South Sudan and Uganda. These two camps are not only some of the largest in Africa, but also among the oldest still-operational camps. Refugee camps are typically seen as ‘temporary shelters’ to accommodate refugees and displaced people who have fled their home country due to conflict or disasters, until these are resolved. However, the protracted instability and lack of security in many of Kenya’s neighbouring nations has resulted in the majority of Kakuma and Dadaab’s inhabitants being either born in the camps or having arrived there at a very young age and thus not knowing any other ‘home’.

Until the situations in Somalia and South Sudan stabilise, Kenya will be faced with housing and considering the needs of these refugees. The cries of concern of Kenya’s government needs to be considered by the larger international community, but it also needs to be seen as an opportunity for the body of Christ, both within Kenya and beyond. The issue of integration may be something that Kenya needs to consider, and here the Church in Kenya can play a profound role. Leviticus 19:34 (NIV) says: “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself…” What an impact could be made for the Kingdom, if refugees are embraced in such a way. As followers of Christ, we cannot rely on worldly structures to solve the issues of society. But it will require sacrifice and long-term commitment. The Church in Kenya will need the support from other believers beyond their borders.

Please join with us as we pray for Kenya.

“Whenever God determines to do a great work, He first sets His people to pray.” (Charles Spurgeon)