Communities hosting refugees in the country have started to benefit from government projects under the Sh10 billion Kenya Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project.
Speaking during a two-day project inspection tour of Turkana west sub county on Wednesday, Devolution and Arid and Semi-Arid Areas PS Micah Powon said Wajir, Garissa and Turkana counties have begun benefiting for hosting the refugees for close to 30 years.
Powon said the government secured a loan from the World Bank to fund the 10-year project.
Specifically, residents of Turkana west sub county will be the beneficiaries in larger county for hosting the refugees at Kakuma, with Powon saying the projects will help improve the livelihoods and infrastructure in the host communities.
There are about 190,000 refugees in Turkana west sub county currently. The PS noted that the communities have not benefited in the past for hosting the refugees, hence the need for government intervention to target the host communities which have been affected by environmental degradation.
He said the local project is at its inception stage of implementation and Sh218 million has so far been disbursed to support various groups in their income generating activities.
He said Turkana county will receive close to Sh1 billion in the current financial year to undertake the targeted projects including upgrading of dispensaries and hospitals, construction of extra classes in schools and water projects.
During the tour, the PS commissioned a borehole at Losajait, witnessed a water piping project in Nanam, visited a bakery in Lokichoggio, a motorcycle spares business in Kakuma and a latrine project at Lapacho.
In Turkana county, each group is receiving Sh500,000 to support their income generating activities.
“Already we have 40 groups in Turkana west sub county which have benefited from Sh500,000 each and we will have another 600 groups which are set to benefit,” he said.
The Kenya Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project county coordinator Humfrey Amoni said the development priorities are identified by the community.
“The project aims to support the communities which have been affected by hosting the refugees to help them improve their social infrastructure, expand their economic opportunities, and enhancing environmental management,” said Amoni.
And according to Joshua Ekitela, the chairman of a boda boda group in Kakuma, the funding has enabled the group to not only purchase more boda bodas but also opened a motorcycle spare parts shop in Kakuma.
“In addition, we have hired a mechanic who has helped impart these skills to other youth,” he said.
Meanwhile, the PS has called on parents to ensure their children report back to school when all leaning institutions are reopened in January.
By Peter Gitonga