Nairobi, 23 July 2018 - World renowned architect Shigeru Ban paid his second visit to the Kalobeyei Refugee Settlement in Turkana County where houses are being constructed based on shelter models he has designed for refugees in collaboration with UN-Habitat. The project which is funded by the Government of Japan includes providing suitable housing design options that are replicable in large-scale housing programmes for refugees.

The lead architect from Shigeru Ban Architects who has been overseeing construction of the pilot shelter units Mr. Phillippe Monteil explained the characteristics of different models, ranging from habitability, cultural appropriateness, accessibility and affordability. A private company Lixil Corporation is partnering with UN-Habitat in the design and construction of customized toilets suitable for the housing prototypes with a community-based approach to construction and maintenance.

Shigeru Ban and the UN-Habitat team met with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) representatives for a review of different housing models to determine the most appropriate shelter design for the refugee settlement. Shigeru Ban clarified that all models address refugee needs for durable and transitional shelter. The wooden frame brick model is most suitable based on availability of construction materials which makes it possible to involve the host community and the refugees in construction.

Representatives of UNHCR committed to collaborate more closely with UN-Habitat to leverage its technical expertise and thanked Shigeru Ban for his contribution to the project. For his part, Shigeru Ban undertook to provide further technical assistance to UN-Habitat as needed to ensure the most appropriate, durable and affordable solutions for refugee shelter. UN-Habitat project coordinator Ms. Yuka Terada expressed gratitude Shigeru Ban for dedicating his time to partner with UN-Habitat in the project despite being involved in many other projects globally.

Reiterating the importance of socio-economic integration of refugees and the host community, the sub-county administrator expressed appreciation for the seamless cooperation between the Turkana County Government and UN-Habitat.