Kalobeyei 27 December 2017— A senior diplomat from the Japanese embassy in Nairobi Mr. Ito Yo last week visited the construction site of UN-Habitat’s community centre for refugees and host community to see firsthand the progress of the project.

During the visit where he was well received by both the project beneficiaries and UN-Habitat staff members, an impressed Mr. Yo had a long talk with the site engineers and contractors getting the finer details of the development.

 To date, over 30 people from both refugee and host communities have been trained in building construction, and more than 40 locals have been hired for the construction. A further 9 people from both communities are currently undergoing on-the-job training on production and use of interlocking concrete blocks.  This technology, which has already been used to construct a generator and guard house within the community centre site is anticipated to be a more efficient alternative to construction in the area, in terms of cost, production time and assembly. The center will be completed in February 2018.

The construction of the center is done in partnership with Aid and Relief Japan (AAR Japan) as a multi-use social facility open to both refugee and host communities. The design of the center was developed based on insights and preferences from both communities. The center contains a meeting room, library and a computer room, and it is in the heart of the Kalobeyei New Settlement.  It is based on training refugees and host communities in innovative techniques, appropriate for the local context and supporting job creation, but also ensuring the quality of the construction.

Since 2016 UN-Habitat is supporting integrated refugee and host communities in Turkana County, Kenya with support from the Government of Japan. After the successful completion of the spatial development framework, UN-Habitat is engaged in a community stabilization programme aimed at promoting peaceful coexistence and supporting the host and refugee communities in seizing opportunities from the development of Kalobeyei Settlement. One of the key activities is the construction of a community center in the heart of Kalobeyei Refugee Settlement.