Kakuma, Kenya 7 October 2020 - UN-Habitat has been collaborating with Turkana County Government in various planning processes especially around the Kakuma and Kalobeyei refugee settlement areas . 

As part of the collaboration, UN-Habitat and Turkana County Government recently hosted a two-day semi-virtual workshop. The purpose of the workshop was to receive feedback and facilitate discussions with Turkana County officials on the potential land-use proposals based on the existing situational analysis as well as proposals provided by the community, private sector, National and County Government Ministries and agencies from previous multi-level and multi-sector meetings. This plan would also support the County Government in having the plans needed for the conferment of the proposed Kakuma-Kalobeyei Municipality.

Day one of the workshop began with an overview of urban development in Turkana County followed by UN-Habitat’s presentation of the Spatial Profiling of Kakuma and  Kalobeyei. The Spatial Profile is a multi-sectoral assessment of Kakuma and Kalobeyei, collating and creating spatial data to help inform decision making, specifically regarding the location of the Kakuma-Kalobeyei Municipality. Discussions of the Spatial Profiling was guided by a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis of Kakuma and Kalobeyei, with the aim of clarifying, verifying and identifying gaps in the research that has been conducted so far. This analysis was able to confirm some of the major findings of the profile while also adding new perspectives to topics such as the tourism potential of Kakuma-Kalobeyei, changing political dynamics, the green energy potential of Turkana County and environmental conservation.

Day two of the workshop was focused around presentations of the Socio-economic Survey, the Business, Local Economic Development Survey and the Kalobeyei Corridor Development Plan by UN-Habitat. Each presentation was followed by a question and answer session to understand the perspectives of the local authorities. Topics that arose from these discussions included the institutional arrangements to support the local economy, environmental management of the invasive species Prosopis juliflora, value chains such as retail and commercial charcoal and timber production and climate change. It also included proposals for potential industrial investments like the meat production and processing plants as well as logistics and transport planning which is key in stimulating local businesses and promoting flow of goods, services, capital and people in north-western Kenya part of the LAPSSET corridor.

During the workshop Chief Officer of Turkana County Government Ministry of Lands, Housing, Energy and Urban Areas Management, Joshua Lemuya,  highlighted that “the planning of the Kalobeyei Infrastructure corridor and the spatial profiling work will significantly contribute to the process of attaining the proposed municipality status for Kakuma and Kalobeyei”.

The Director in charge of Physical Planning from Turkana County Government Ministry of Lands, Housing, Energy and Urban Areas Management, Davies Munialo, added that “the next phase of the planning process of the Kalobeyei corridor plan will focus on completing the development of the final land use proposals and probably have the plan submitted to the County Government before the end of the year 2020”.

The workshop concluded with discussions of ways forward, including the arranging of follow-up bilaterals with Turkana County Departments for further detailing of data and agreement for another multi-sectoral workshop to be organised soon. Semi-virtual and multi-sectoral workshops such as these have become essential due to restrictions of personnel movement that are expected to continue for the foreseeable future.