Kakuma, Kenya 4 August 2016—A group of youths from Kakuma and Kaloeyebei areas of Kenya’s Turkana County recently had the once in a lifetime opportunity to train in photography. The photography workshop was organized by UN-Habitat Kakuma within the project Supporting Planning for Integrated Refugees and Host Communities, funded by the Government of Japan. The activity was supported by the implementation partner Peace Winds Japan and the Ward administration offices of Kakuma and Kalobeyei towns.
UN-Habitat approach involves public participation in all stages of the project, from information, mapping and research to participatory planning for understanding the need and vision for development from both refugees and host communities. To complement ground analysis on human settlements in Turkana County, UN-Habitat organized the special workshop involving Turkana youth living in Kakuma Town and Kalobeyei Town.
Kakuma Town has been developed in the past decades with the presence of the Kakuma Refugee Camp and has been directly impacted by the activities around the refugee camp. For instance, the camp has brought a number of organizations, including UN Agencies and NGOs, but also need for market development, housing and transportation.
Kalobeyei Town, in the proximity on Kalobeyei New Site is a small town with several permanent buildings, road and shops, where development is prospected to take place under the same conditions as Kakuma Town due to the direct relation with the New Site. In Kalobeyei Town, a large part of the community members are still nomads and almost the entire population lives in temporary homes.
The workshops had two main objectives: on one hand the youth groups were led to discover elements of being settled as a community, through exploring typologies of living space and livelihood, elements of sustainability and self-reliance but on the other hand, the workshop provided valuable skill training in the art of photography.
Following the two objectives, the workshops were divided in two components: (i) decoding the livelihood and (ii) the technical training on photography. Through an urban exploration exercise, UN-Habitat to understand the youth`s view on the livelihoods of their towns. The technical training in photography was conducted by the awarded UN-Habitat photographer Julius Mwelu. The youth groups were assigned to photograph their livelihoods following 5 aspects: shelter, water, transport, economy and public space. Kalobeyei Town youth group added a 6th element – environment.
The technical skill enabled students to learn photography and exercise photojournalism. The selection of images reflects important elements of Turkana towns, and proved a very fast learning from the students. The captions represent clear interpretation of what means being settled for the Turkana Youth. From the final presentation of self-selected images, the youth identified elements such as public amenities, public space, economy and human activity to have a high importance in making people settled. However, the primary needs identifies are water provision, shelter and transport.