JRS services in Eastern Africa

Based on the needs of the people JRS seeks to assist and the capacities of the organisation, JRS staff provide a range of services to around 50,000 refugees and other forcibly displaced persons in eastern Africa. These services are made available to refugees and displaced persons regardless of their race, ethnic origin, or religious beliefs. 

Below is a description of the services JRS offers in eastern Africa and the number of people reached.

  • Education
  • Emergency relief assistance
  • Livelihoods
  • Pastoral care & social services

Education is the core of many JRS activities in eastern Africa. It comprises a wide range of services involving formal and informal instruction, including nursery, pre-school, primary, secondary and third level education, special education, distance education, scholarships, life-skills and vocational training, adult literacy, computer and language classes, extra tuition and revision classes, and education for peace and reconciliation. 

In Sudan, JRS strengthens the educational system in communities by training teachers and providing them with incentives, constructing schools, providing school equipment and supporting parent-teacher associations. JRS Eastern Africa has also holds a major role in campaigns for girls to be educated. 

In 2014, JRS Eastern Africa provided education services to approximately 20,000 young people in Kenya, Uganda, Sudan and Ethiopia.
Emergency relief assistance

A large part of the work of JRS Eastern Africa involves the distribution of food and non-food items, such as mattresses and blankets, clothes, seeds and tools, money for transport and referrals for medical treatment. JRS Eastern Africa also renovates buildings in post-conflict situations and helps refugees find accommodation in urban areas.

In 2014, JRS Eastern Africa provided emergency assistance to more than 6,200 forcibly displaced persons in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.


Whether helping refugees integrate into their new host communities or preparing them for their return home or resettlement in a third country, JRS Eastern Africa seeks to promote self-sufficiency among refugees. Services include helping refugees access employment and land, providing technical training and assistance and facilitating the establishment of small businesses by making available funds, grants and loans, as well as tools and other resources.

Such initiatives are implemented in many spheres – farming, crafts, production of food, soap and other commodities – and go beyond the economic aspect (self-sufficiency, earning an income) to encompass human (restoration of dignity and hope) and social (integration, community initiatives) elements. 

For example, in Kakuma refugee camp, refugees can learn alternative healing practices, such as massage therapy. In Nairobi, JRS sponsors Mikono, a store that sells crafts made by refugees.

In 2014, JRS Eastern Africa provided livelihood services to more than 2,500 individuals in Kenya, Sudan and Uganda.

Pastoral care & social services

This area of support is extremely broad. Pastoral care refers to targeted initiatives – capacity-building among catechists, youth, community leaders and small Christian communities – and to wider ministry that reaches thousands. The latter includes liturgical services, including administration of the sacraments, and pastoral accompaniment, especially of people who are ill, traumatised and bereaved. 

Forms of social support include psychosocial, social and recreational services, and community development activities. The degree of JRS Eastern Africa involvement includes offering a listening ear or therapy for mental health problems and the organisation of support groups. Victims of abuse, ex-child soldiers and those who have experienced trauma are among those supported. 

In Kakuma, JRS runs a protection centre for female victims of sexual and gender-based violence. In Addis Ababa, a refugee community centre offers activities like sports, language classes, internet services, and music lessons.

In 2014, JRS Eastern Africa provided pastoral care and social services to nearly 9,000 refugees and other forcibly displaced persons in Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.