SinceWorld War II, the continuous rise in refugee numbers in each passing decadecontinues to be a major challenge to the United Nations (UN). Whenever there isdisplacement or a humanitarian catastrophe, the UN is on the ground providingrelief, support and assistance. Several aid agencies under the umbrella ofUnited Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are responsible forhumanitarian assistance and protection of refugees (Salmio, 2009; Sivolobova,2012). Subsequenteruption of armed conflicts in the Horn of Africa and the Great Lakes Regionhas resulted in the flight of millions of people in search of safety, with someof them ending in refugee camps. Towards the end of the World War II refugeecamps became standardized form of assisting displaced people (Salmio, 2009;Sivolobova, 2012).
Arefugee camp is defined by UNHCR (2016) as a temporary accommodation for peoplewho have been forced to flee their homes to provide immediate protection andsafety for the world’s most vulnerable people. UNHCR reports that there are 2.6million people living in camps worldwide. Accordingto UNHCR1 factsand figures, by end of 2016 there were 65.6 million people forcibly displacedworldwide from their homes due to conflict, violence or persecution, out ofthis 22.
5 million are refugees and 30% of them are hosted in Africa; this givesan average of 28,300 people displaced worldwide on daily basis. UNHCR affirmsthat when people become refugees, they are likely to remain refugee for severalyears. Majority remain displaced for nearly two decades and this puts theirlives in limbo.Dadaabrefugee camp has a population of 234,346 registered refugees and asylum seekersas at the beginning of 2018. Dadaab refugee camp consists of four separatecamps with the first camps established in 1991 with refugees fleeing the civilwar in Somalia crossed the border into Kenya.
The second large influx occurredin 2011 where 130,000 refugees arrived from fleeing drought and famine insouthern Somalia. The old camps resemble naturally-grown towns and havedeveloped into commercial hubs connecting North-eastern and Southern regions ofKenya and Somalia respectively. Refugeecrisis is compounded by the dwindling humanitarian aid (Ikanda, 2008).Christopher P., et al (2017) asserts that humanitarian aid is funded bydonations from individuals, corporations, governments and other organizations.However, lately people no longer give to charities like they have in the past.Donor fatigue is something that has been on the rise in the recent years for avariety of reasons.
The major cause of donor fatigue is simply budgetexhaustion. Finally, the predicament of refugees who have lived outside theircountry for more than five years is even worse. Donors are increasinglyreluctant to shoulder the burden of feeding these long-term or protractedrefugees. Lack of humanitarian funds for whatever reason has dire consequencesfor the escalating refugee crisis.1.1.1 Refugee’sEntrepreneurship Abusiness model is defined as the rationale behind the ability of an organizationto create, deliver, and capture values in an economic, social, cultural orother context. Abraham (2012) argues that the process of business modelconstruction is part of business strategy.
In literature, business models are considered essential aspects of successful businesses, as their main purpose is to differentiate a particular company from others and to provide it with an advantage over its rivalry (Johnson et al. 2008; Teece 2010).Thebusiness model concept emerged in the context of e-business and many of the earlydefinitions are composed in this context (Timmers 1998, Afuah & Tucci 2001,Amit & Zott 2001). Since then, the concept has been applied in various industries ranging from airlines to music recording (Chesbrough 2010, Morris et al. 2005), and definitions have been presented from perspectives suchas strategy, technology and entrepreneurship (Chesbrough & Rosenbloom 2002,Morris et al. 2005, Shafer et al.
2005).Developmentof long-term refugees’ self-reliance is widely advocated by academics andpractitioners discouraging refugee programmes that are only limited to reliefaid rather than sustainable development. Various initiatives have beenchampioned encouraging NGOs to move beyond the care and maintenance approach ofdependent on international assistance for protection, food, water, shelter,medical, education and other human needs (2003; UNHCR, 2005; Sivolobova, 2012).Manyhumanitarian aid agencies have sought to review their policies in an attempt tocreate an effective transition between emergency humanitarian aid andlonger-term development (Konyndyk, 2005; UNHCR, 2005; 2011). Small scalebusiness is considered the best avenue in the drive towards the economicself-reliance of refugees. Income generating projects are meant to providesustainable livelihoods, instil new survival skills in refugees, permit them toenjoy a limited degree of financial autonomy and introduce money into a poorlymonetized environment. Refugeesinitially are fully dependent on aid from the international community.
Sincemany refugees settle in camps for years, humanitarian aid is not sufficient to addresstheir basic needs, so refugees are forced to coin other ways to self-sufficiency(Werker, 2007).2 Sincemany outsiders view camps as temporary refugee settlements that wholesomelydepend on foreign aid, they fail to see how refugee camps emerge as urbanenvironments that are full of commercial structures and generate their owneconomies.The main major reason for economic empowermentmove in refugee camps is because foreign aid is not sufficient to address alltheir needs. Brees (2008) argues that Burmese refugees who live in Thailandreceive food rations that meet international standards, but there is noprovision of fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, or non-food items that they need,hence have to look for alternative source.3In addition, a study by Meludu (2009) about refugees in Nigeria found that “thehumanitarian efforts supporting Nigerian refugee camps is often not enough tosustain them while in the camp for the period they are to stay.
“1 http://www.unhcr.org/figures-at-a-glance.html2 Werker, E. “Refugee Camp Economies.” Journal of Refugee Studies.
20.3 (2007): 461-480. 3 Brees, I. “Refugee Business: Strategies of Work on the Thai-BurmaBorder.” Journal of Refugee Studies.
21.3 (2008): 380-397.