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Legislators optimistic World Bank funded project will better lives of residents 

Legislators whose constituencies hosts the Somali refugees today expressed optimism that the Kenya Development Response Displacement Impacts Project (KDRDIP) will better the lives of their electorate.

The Sh 10 billion project is being implemented in three counties of Garissa (Sh 4.2 billion), Wajir (Sh 2 billion) and Turkana (Sh.3.1 billion).

In Garissa County, Fafi, Dadaab and Lagdera sub-counties will each receive (Sh.1.5 billion), (Sh.1.6 billion) and (Sh.1.1billion) respectively. The projects will be implemented over the next 5 years.

For the past three decades, communities hosting the bulk of the refugees have suffered devastating effects on both the environment, economy and social wellbeing.

MPs Mohamed Dahiye (Dadaab), Mohamed Hire (Lagdera) and Abdikarim Osman (Fafi) said that all they want to see is their people benefiting from the projects.

Dahiye whose constituency hosts over 273,000 refugees said that the projects would improve access to basic social services, expand economic opportunities, and enhance environmental management for communities hosting refugees in the targeted areas.

“We are happy that the government of Kenya together with the World Bank have considered supporting this refugee hosting communities financially to compensate them,” Dahiye said.

Hire dismissed claims that MPs were out to interfere with the project and that as MPs all they want was to see the people they represent benefit from the projects.

“This project is of immense benefit to our communities because it will empower the communities at the grassroots. As now when our respective constituencies hosted refugees there were serious impacts in terms of environment, economic, social and communal aspect,” Hire said.

“As representatives of the people who know how our people have been negatively affected by the presence of the refugees, we cannot wait to see the lives of our electorate change for the better,” he added.

Osman on the other hand also expressed optimism that with proper planning, coordination and implementation of KDRDIP, the host communities will benefit immensely through access to basic services, expansion of economic opportunities and enhancement of environmental management in the affected counties.

“By the end of the project period, we hope that it will improve self-reliance among refugee hosting communities, social cohesion between refugees and host communities, increase the voices and roles of citizens in decision making regarding development,” Osman said.

Osman thanked the County Project Implementation Unit (CPIU) and Facilitating Partners (FPs) whom he said have ensured all requisite procedures are strictly complied with.

The three were speaking after attending a steering committee meeting which was chaired by area county commissioner Meru Mwangi and which was meant to approve the annual work plan and budgets of 2021-22.

Speaking during the launch of the project in 2018 in Garissa town, devolution CS Eugene Wamalwa said the community should the ones to prioritize their projects.

Wamalwa said that the project is an integral part of the broader North and North Eastern initiative that will focus on community level approaches to address the impact of protracted presence of refuges in the affected areas.

There is a total of Sh 762 million which will be disbursed to the three sub counties. The money will go to 408 groups which will each receive Sh 500,000.

The presence of refugees in the three project counties has impacted negatively to the host communities and deepened poverty levels. This has led to increased demand for natural resource, water, pasture and fuel wood that has cost degradation of the environment.

by Jacob Songok

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