Home to 180 000 refugees, and 60 000 local inhabitants, the Turkanas, Kakuma hosts many young people. NRC runs Turkana’s biggest vocational training centre, where they offer training in 9 different skills to refugees and host population. All courses are accredited by the Government of Kenya, and this December 881 students will sit for Government of Kenya exams. NRC also supports government basic education programme, by working with local authorities in Turkana West sub county and Unicef to increase an improve enrolment and retention of children in school. The Ambassador opened a classroom in Nang’olemaret primary school during his visit, we were welcomed by the locals singing and dancing and the children showed off their brand new school uniforms.
NRC also showed us that they are able to be innovative to find affordable and, not least, lasting solutions. To avoid that the few trees and bushes in the semi-arid Turkana are cut down for use as firewood, and to replace charcoal, NRC has started to reuse human waste and make this into bio charcoal to be used in the same manner as charcoal. The waste is collected from latrines and made into bio charcoal and then sold for the same price as ordinary charcoal – only the bio charcoal last twice as long.
Another initiative of importance to the refugees, is to assist refugees to claim their rights. One activity we learned more about was to assist refugees born in Kakuma camp to be issued with birth certificates from Kenyan authorities. We also got time to drive through the nearby settlement of Kalobeyei, where refugees and host community are given land by Turkana county to live. The aim is to make refugees self-reliant in terms of food and livelihood, and to promote a common market and sharing of services with the local population.