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Children and youth bulge: challenges of a young refugee population in the East and Horn of Africa

Peter Kintu, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
Sathyanarayanan Doraiswamy, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
Joanina Karugaba, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)
Thomas Albrecht, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

UNHCR and its partners provide protection and assistance to over a million refugees in the East and Horn of Africa. Children and young adults contribute over 80% of the refugee population. Children in the school-going ages (5 - 17 years) constitute the majority, followed by young adults (18 - 34 years). About 53% and 17% of the eligible population can access primary and secondary school education respectively. Engagement in gainful employment or agricultural production is prohibited for asylum seekers and refugees in most countries. During 2010, 23% of the adolescents (12 - 17 years) were reached through targeted programmes; only 4% of youth (15 to 24 years) benefited from vocational skills training. More resources should be availed to the education sector to enable universal access by all refugee children and advocacy should be strengthened to facilitate the easing of restrictions on informal or formal employment in refugee-hosting countries.

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Presented in Session 97: The youth bulge and social unrest