Kalobeyei, 26 January 2017-- Four delegates from the Turkana county executive recently had a consultative meeting with representatives from UN-Habitat over three projects being implemented in Kalobeyei Town in Turkana west Sub-County. Kalobeyei is the ward hosting the new refugee settlement which is projected to host approximately 60,000 refugees fleeing from war from South Sudan and other neighboring nations. UN-Habitat partners with UNHCR and the county government in developing the settlement plan, while a number of county governments support sustainable Urban Development through the Kenya Municipal Program and implicitly urban development at local level.

UN-Habitat promotes a sustainable spatial planning function for the new refugee settlement, by partnering with Peace Winds Japan (PWJ) and Community Road Empowerment (CORE) Kenya to demonstrate sustainable infrastructure technologies for road construction, water retention and sustainable horticultural farming in the refugee and the host community. Those activities are part of the Supporting Planning for Integrated Refugees and Host Communities led by UN-Habitat with support from the Government of Japan.

Do-Nou (Japanese term meaning gunny-bags) technology is a conventional method of road and water pan construction and highly recommended by the Kenyan government in the Vision 2030. The two projects are highly labour intensive and a total of 45 youths were trained and later would form two companies for water works and Road construction, while the registration for the two companies is underway. The director from the ministry of Transport and Public works welcomed the idea and emphatically called for stronger partnership with UN-habitat for the continuity of the project.

The horticultural farming using Do-Nou bags which is planned to start in April with the aim to use limited space, little water to produce more crops per unit area. The requirements for the garden will be sisal gunny bags, sand and stone particles, organic loam, charcoal and the suitable crops. The meeting was attended by the representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Irrigation, Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Transport and Public Works.

The support of the county officers is very important in planning and conducting the demonstration projects, while the Ministry of Trade support will be cross-cutting and they will work with the other ministries to provide business skills development, business registration, and licensing and value chain management. UN-Habitat was urged to make consultations from the agribusiness officers because they work closely with the ministry of trade in value chain management.