Communities Hosting Refugees Reap From State Project
The notion that refugees have been receiving better treatment than host communities has largely changed thanks to a five-year government project started in 2017.
Beneficiaries of the Kenya Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project (KDRDIP) in Kakuma, Turkana county said the World Bank-supported scheme has helped turn their lives around.
Maclevis Ewoi said he and 14 others received a Sh500,000 grant from KDRDIP with which they bought motorcycles and are now able to put food on the table for their families as well as meet their daily needs.
“It also created a job opportunity for a mechanic who repairs motorcycles and another lady who sells motorcycle spare parts and we also run our Mpesa shop,” said Ewoi, who is also the deputy secretary of Kakuma boda boda riders group.
He added that engaging the youth in income-generating activities has helped reduce crime in Kakuma town.
“Before we started, most youthS who were then unemployed were afraid of even getting married for fear of being unable to provide for their families, now most of us are married and are able to fend for our families,” he said.
Esther Munialo, another member of the boda boda group, said she used to wash clothes for Kakuma residents to eke a living.
“This project has helped me to gain a stable source of income and improve my life,” she said.
KDRDIP was established to improve access to basic social services, expand economic opportunities, and enhance environmental management for communities hosting refugees in Kenya.
It has commissioned Sh434 million as part of this financial year’s Sh906 million that will benefit residents of Kakuma sub-county, with the lion’s share going to the upgrading of Kakuma Sub-County Hospital.
Project coordinator Humfrey Amoni, said a morgue, an incinerator, and a ward will be constructed at the hospital.
“Residents will, for the first time, be able to take their departed ones to the morgue and save the time and finances they used to incur in taking their loved ones to Lodwar County Referral Hospital which is 120km from Kakuma town,” he said.
Area MP Daniel Epuyo said he was grateful for the government intervention, saying it has helped change the narrative of inferiority among host communities.
“We are grateful that the host community are finally reaping the benefits of hosting the refugees for many years,” he said.
KDRDIP covers five sub-counties and 31 wards in the three counties of Garissa, Wajir and Turkana benefiting an estimated 1,041,000 people.
Being a community-led project, residents identify the projects and their implementation and are involved in the procurement process.
The key areas of focus include construction of schools, water provision and road construction. It also includes environmental protection and conservation as well as improving the livelihoods of communities.