Following where Community-Driven Organizations Lead: Lessons for strengthening refugee financial integration

By Julie Zollman and Kim Wilson

“We have many people with a broken heart because of their history. So, we have to encourage them. We have to give them hope they can also make it in life,” Pastor Wilberforce of the Kasarani Bethel Church explained. This work of healing the wounds of the heart is something that a number of churches and other community-driven organizations (CDOs) that work with the refugee community in Nairobi take seriously. Outside of the formal aid architecture, these organizations have taken on this work with very little funding, nearly all of which comes from member contributions. They use the funds they collect to help one another recover from the trauma of dis- placement and offer not only material support but new relationships, counseling, and compassion. In spite of limited resources, these organizations, comprised of refugees and host community members alike, are doing much of the heavy lifting in building the financial lives of refugees in displacement.

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