The implementation of the Kenya Development Response to Displacement Impacts Project (KDRDIP) by local communities has attracted the attention of countries in the Horn of Africa to benchmark on the successes and challenges of the project as the World Bank extends the project to their countries.
KDRDIP is a World Bank funded project at a cost of Sh10 billion for a period of five years to help the communities in Garissa, Wajir and Turkana to mitigate the effects of hosting refugees on their lives and livelihoods.
Country members of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Ethiopia, Uganda, Djibouti, Sudan and Somalia joined the Kenyan officials to tour the development projects in Lagdera and Dadaab sub counties in Garissa.
Among the development projects visited is a science laboratory at Modogashe Secondary School, construction of a medical lab at Dertu Health Centre, borehole water project at Armed Tukale, and two medical laboratories at Modogashe Dispensary.
The IGAD delegation said they were impressed at how the project in Kenya has helped to improve the lives and the livelihood of the refugee host communities especially during a time when the citizens are struggling with the effects of the current drought.
“What we have seen is very good. How the communities have been trained to implement and manage the projects is what I will take home and tell our communities to do the same,” said Djibouti’s Director of Social Development Agency Mahdi Mohamed.
Speaking at Armed Tukale after leading the IGAD delegates to inspect the Sh13.6 million Armed Tukale Water Project, KDRDIP’s team leader Wilfred Omari said that the project follows a community development approach where local communities take charge of projects from prioritisation, planning and implementation.
“We advise them to use locally available resources and contractors. They use simple advertising methods such as placing adverts on trees, public spaces and announcements in mosques and schools,” Omari said.
Omari however regretted the drought situation in the region that has disrupted normal activities and patterns of settlement as people move in search of pasture leaving some projects unutilised or exposed to vandalism.
He urged the national and county governments to collaborate and find ways of mitigating drought effects in the region, reduce movements of people and help them establish permanent settlements.
Director for Relief, Reconstruction and Development Organisation (RRDO) Meshark Sikuku, which is the facilitating partner for the project, said that through training, the communities have been able to democratically elect their committee members, procure, tender and supervise the local projects.
“Our role as facilitating partners is to undertake community mobilisation, sensitisation and capacity building to ensure that communities are equipped with skills to implement the projects,” Sikuku said
“We lead the communities to elect committee members and train them on procurement, finance and project implementation procedures. It is satisfying to see that these communities can actually get funds and develop their villages,” he added
At Maalimin Primary School in Lagdera, the community prioritised construction of teachers’ houses, administration block, water dam and installing of solar power grid in the school to provide the resources the school needs to run smoothly.
Bashir Dahir, a member of the school Board and the community development committee said that the school has not had access to electricity and water since it was started in 2006.
“The first priority for us was constructing teachers’ quarters. This is because most teachers are non-locals and we want to make sure that they are comfortable so that we can retain them.”
“Before this project, some of the teaching staff were not comfortable living here longer because this is an arid region where we do not have water, staff residence and electricity posing a challenge to them,” he added.
Dahir expressed optimism that the communities are now ready to take development in their own hands, choose their priorities right and implement the projects they need.
By Erick Kyalo