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In December 2019, during the first African Refugee Summit, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 31st November – 2nd December 2019 in partnership with Open Society Foundation, Oxfam International and the Independent Diplomat. The ARN acting as an umbrella body for refugee-led organizations across Africa, this event brought together approximately 70 refugee delegates from across the continent. This summit provided refugees an opportunity to strengthen their network, consolidate their perspectives, and plan for their contribution in national, regional and global fora and processes. It was recognized that there was a need for refugee representatives to address the challenges that cause their underrepresentation in decision-making tables and policymaking processes on areas of shared concern. RELON-Kenya is a registered national network of RLO’s in Kenya as an association with the Registrar of Societies. The organization is a membership organization drawing members from both the urban and camp-based refugee-led organizations. The RELON-Kenya journey began shortly before the first Africa Refugee Summit that was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in December 2019. A group of refugee leaders, drawn from different refugee-led organisations from across the African continent who came together and discussed the idea of creating an umbrella under which Refugee-Led Organisations would operate in, and ‘speak on one voice’ when advocating for refugee rights and interests. Consequently, during the first African Refugee Summit 2019, the refugee leaders recognised the urgent need for refugees/refugee leaders to be at the decision-making tables and policymaking processes on matters affecting their day-to-day lives in a capacity equal to the other key stakeholders and partners. It was at this juncture that we reflected on the quote, ‘”Nothing for Refugees without refugees”. A few months later, a committee was formed with an aim of bringing together like-minded refugee-led organizations and set up a collaborative and supportive forum among ourselves – thus the Refugee-Led Organization Network of Kenya (RELON-KENYA) was established, which is also working in collaboration with the regional umbrella known as “Africa Refugee-led Network (ARN)”, and an affiliate of Global Refugee-led Network (GRN). WHO WE ARE? RELON-Kenya exists to unite the refugee-led organisations (RLOs) in Kenya so as to link them with opportunities, ideas and funding, as well as provide a platform for the RLOs to network amongst each other and other key potential partners/stakeholders (at national, regional and global levels). RELON KENYA’S VISION, MISSION AND CORE VALUES; VISSION OF RELON Kenya …. A strong network that advocating for inclusion and meaningful participation of RLOs and refugees in decision-making tables and policymaking processes on matters affecting their day-to-day lives and ‘speak on one voice’ when advocating for refugee rights and interests. MISSION OF RELON -KENYA …. To influence policy makers and donors through advocacy and networking for meaningful service provision and participation of RLOs on the decision-making tables and policymaking processes. Core values of RELON-Kenya Transparency We believe in openness, accountability and accessibility Integrity We believe in honesty and have strong moral principal as we carry out our activities across the region Networking We believe in interaction with others, sharing of information and collaboration. Inclusivity We believe in providing equal access to opportunities and resources for RLOs without marginalization of any kind Accountability We believe in responsibility for all actions and fairness in provision of services to the members Objectives of RELON-Kenya: 1. Advocacy for refugee inclusion and meaningful participation in policy dialogues led by government and international organizations. 2. Sharing experiences and best practices between refugee-led organizations that will strengthen collaboration among refugee-led networks and other stakeholders on refugee concerns (amongst others: asylum process, protection, free mobility within the region, durable solutions - voluntary repatriation, resettlement, integration, energy and infrastructure accessibility, work permits and livelihood, access to education). 3. Enhancing collaboration between refugees and host communities through dialogue and partnerships with local community-led organizations. 4. Developing organizational capacity-building for its members through initiatives such as training, workshops, roundtables and consultations. 5. Conducting outreach activities on refugee related matters (needs assessment, capacity needs assessment and training, community forum, sensitization, on any matters that arises, research, etc...) 6. Providing advice and technical support to its members (mentorship for RLOs - social, protection, legal). Website: www.relonkenya.or.ke

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