Trade Forum Features

Boosting youth confidence through skills training

22 December 2016
ITC News
From courses in car mechanics to media training,
refugees are preparing themselves for life beyond the camps

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) provides vocational training for young people under the umbrella of the Youth Education Pack (YEP). It provides literacy and numeracy training, vocational skills and life skills targeting youth aged between 15 and 25 from both refugee and vulnerable host communities, and those with limited or no formal education. In Kenya, YEP is operational in the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps.

Some 896 young men and women have benefited from 13 sets of vocational skills courses in the four YEP centres at Dadaab in 2016. The courses offered included masonry, motor vehicle mechanics, computerized secretarial, journalism, graphic design, web development, electrical installation, digital satellite and solar installation, traditional henna decoration and barbering.


The journalism course is currently offered in Dadaab by NRC in partnership with the Technical Training Institute. It has proven to be highly relevant and successful owing to its practical appeal among the youth. Despite setbacks such as religious and cultural practices that hamper the growth of photography and investigative journalism, many students have gained wide acceptance among their communities and have proven that information is power when shared widely.

Journalism was introduced as a vocational training course in 2014. With funding from the American Bureau for Populations, Refugees and Migration (BPRM) and UNHCR, it has steadily expanded both through its learner intake as well as study themes and learning resources.


Kin Abdi, 25, was one of about 18 learners pursuing a journalism course at the Dadaab YEP centre. Thanks to her determination, she secured a job as a radio presenter in one of the local community development FM stations in Dadaab.

Kin came to Dadaab when she was 10 years old. Having spent 15 years as a refugee, she understands the daily challenges refugees encounter in finding education, water, security, and preventing gender-based violence. ‘As a journalist, I am now happy to be part of a team that is constantly shaping the lives of the refugees for the better,’ she says. Kin’s talk shows are among the station’s highest rated shows on women, culture and music. Her studio manager, Mohamed Barud, believes Kin is a well-performing and promising presenter.

‘Ever since she took up the morning shows and other talk show programmes, the listeners participation has been increasing and from the calls they make we have a feeling she connects well with her audience,’ he says. Kin thinks her job demands more than just an open mike and an open mind.

‘A radio presenter’s work is not only talking to the audience,’ she says. ‘To be a good presenter, you must learn to be a good listener. People in Dadaab have pertinent issues which preoccupy their minds, such as security, access to water, medical care, education and the ongoing repatriation process. They want to trust that you can fully understand their situation.’


Kin‘s ambition in journalism does not stop at presenting talk shows. She wants to work for global media agencies like the BBC and Voice of America.

‘I have clearly understood that journalism is a competitive field and I always have to be ahead of the news in my work,’ she explains. ‘My dream is always to help tell the story of the refugees and the less privileged within the society.’

Furthermore, her passion for journalism does not end inside the live broadcast room. She is also a writer who regularly contributes articles for publications on refugee issues within the camp.

Kin joined the YEP programme and took up a one-year course in broadcast journalism specializing in radio and television productions, print production and online journalism. She graduated and secured an internship placement at Star Media Development Centre as a field reporter.

‘The training that I acquired from the YEP programme helped me to reach my dream career as a journalist,’ she says. As a mother, Kin also supports her family thanks to income from her occupation.

Life in the refugee camp is a constant challenge and the mere fact that one is a refugee is in itself a challenge. However, with some determination, youths in Dadaab are able to move forward in life. Kin is the perfect embodiment of focus and having a purposedriven life that can yield positive results. She is not the only one, but one of many yearning for a gate-way to self-improvement.