UN-Habitat establishes host community settlement development group in refugee project_1.pngKalobeyei Town, Kenya 19 July 2016-- UN-Habitat, together with Peace Winds Japan has been taking forward the project Planning for Integrated Refugee and Host Communities in Kalobeyei, Town, Kenya funded by the Government of Japan. The second community meeting convened in Kalobeyei Town was attended by 40 participants from different age, social groups and locations within the town`s administrative area.

The community discussed the planning process considering the current situation of the settlement including challenges, resources available and the collective community vision for the town. The Assistant County Commissioner Mr. Richard Kimtutai and the Sub-County Land Administrator Mr. Simon Lokakwan welcomed the proposed project adding that it will support improving livelihoods and attract economic development. The community has particularly requested training and business support especially for women and the youth groups. UN-Habitat team led the formation of a Settlement Development Group, with members from different social groups in Kalobeyei Town; to ensure a well-balanced representation of gender, age groups, ethnicity, religions, and tribal groups.

The nominations came from the community members and finally 10 members were selected to represent local administration, grassroots organizations, Community Based Organizations, youth and women groups, opinion leaders, other types of communal organizations and vulnerable groups in the project. The need for cooperation with host community and local organizations was emphasized. UN-Habitat approach enhances participatory and inclusive planning by allowing community members to be involved in discussions that shape their future. The Settlement Development Group will work with UN-Habitat throughout the planning process, including participatory planning workshops concerning the integration of refugee and host community in Kalobeyei area.

The members will acquire knowledge on the importance of land use and town planning, supporting the project team in research activities, giving spatial planning insights and supporting community mobilization for implementing project activities on the ground. The growth of Kalobeyei town will require considerable infrastructure investment based on a sound planning and design, in response to the urgency of planning and implementation of an integrated spatial plan for Kalobeyei. This will call for participatory and inclusive planning and community empowerment program supporting development and economic growth.