Most academic reports on encamped refugees deal with the immediate needs of the displaced people with no reference to their socio-cultural value system. The theory and praxis of humanitarian assistance emerge from concerns of international community for making it truly humanitarian and impartial. This paper explores the perceptions of African refugees concerning the international aid provided by humanitarian agencies in Kakuma Refugee Camp. A mixed method research design guided the quantitative and qualitative process of data collecting, analyzing and triangulation protocol. Simple random, strata and purposive techniques were used to sample 484 participants. Statistical descriptive analysis and thematic organization of qualitative data facilitated validation of results and construction of meta-themes. The results revealed the imbalance in relationship between “powerful” givers and “powerless” recipients in the refugee camp, and unveiled the African perception of hidden power behind the “gift” offered by a powerful giver. The findings suggest that a purely pragmatic approach to humanitarian assistance hampers positive social transformation of encamped refugees. This calls upon the international agents to adopt a broader and more flexible interpretation of humanitarian assistance conventions and their application to externally displaced people.
Strategic leadership, developing human capital, Organizational performance, Not-for-profit organizations.