Turkana West, Kenya 18 February 2021-- Since 2015, UN-Habitat has been providing technical support to refugee-assistance programming in Turkana West, Kenya. Initially, the agency spearheaded the formulation of a spatial development plan for the new Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement, under the framework of the Kalobeyei Integrated Socio-Economic Development Programme (KISDEP). Subsequent resources have been directed towards supporting the development of this new settlement and the wider local area- Turkana West. Turkana West is the most populated sub-county in Turkana County, given the international role it has played since 1990s in promoting human security and peace, by hosting thousands of forced migrants i.e. refugees in Kakuma and Kalobeyei settlements. This displaced population currently co-exist with the host community, forming the largest clustered settlement area in the county.

During October and November 2020, UN-Habitat in collaboration with the County Government of Turkana, undertook socio-economic surveys in Turkana West sub-county, Kenya.  These surveys are part of the agency’s on-going projects in ‘Humanitarian-Development Nexus’ work. The projects in Turkana County are currently funded by Cities Alliance, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and European Union Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF).

The projects aim to:

  • Promote socio-economic development of Turkana West through recommending interventions for enhanced connectivity and integration along Kenya-South Sudan corridor and the North Rift region of region, including an advisory plan proposal for the Kalobeyei Corridor Development Area.
  • Propose a spatial strategy to advice on the regeneration Kakuma refugee camp and integrated development of the camp and Kakuma town, and
  • Support towards implementation of the Kalobeyei New Integrated Settlement Plan under KISDEP. 

The surveys were structured into two main sub-themes:

(1) Socio-economic conditions that focused on households, and

(2) Businesses and Local Economic Development that analyzed businesses and the area’s local economic development factors of: infrastructure and services, resources and capacity, policies and governance,  challenges and opportunities etc. The rapid spatial profiling of settlements collected data on the spatial development character of Kakuma-Kalobeyei area and the main public markets in the area. In doing so, a mixed method research was implemented which entails a combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques and rapid settlement profiling that entail Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications.

Fieldwork was conducted in the main settlement centres and towns (refugee and host community populations), across the sub-county wards: Kakuma, Kalobeyei, Letea, Lopur, Songot and Lokichoggio. This was extended to the major urban centres of the North Rift Region Economic Bloc (NOREB) i.e. Eldoret, Kitale and Lodwar, and incorporated national government agencies, specifically the LAPSSET Corridor Development Authority (LCDA) and the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA).

In the coming months, the project will conduct data analysis and compile findings, which will then be used to engage stakeholders in Validation and Disseminations sessions. Thereafter, the findings will be used to inform proposals of the on-going collaborative planning work, and implementation of the various project activities in Turkana West. Thereafter, the outputs will be developed as knowledge products (technical report publications, research briefings and policy briefs).