Kalobyei2Kayolobeyei, Kenya 10 August 2016-- UN-Habitat with the support of the Government of Japan is contributing to the spatial planning component for the new refugee settlement in Kalobeyei, Turkana County. The UN-Habitat approach has a strong participatory component and is as such following a series of participatory research and planning workshops with the host and refugee communities. .

On Friday 5 August, the planners from UN-Habitat LAB met with the Settlement Development Group to discuss the spatial planning component of the new refugee settlement in Kalobeyei, Turkana County. The workshop aimed at a better understanding the spatial arrangement and the livelihood systems in the New Refugee Site, exploring the needs and preferences of the refugee communities.

The Settlement Development Group (SDG) in the new refugee settlement is comprised of 12 members, refugees from Burundi, Congo, South Sudan and Somalia, a mix of men and women of different ages. UN-Habitat planners conducted a drawing workshop where the SDG members were requested to map a walking route of 5, 10 and 30 minutes walking distance. The SDG members mapped perceptual points of interest but also landscape structures such as the streams, roads and different housing areas.

With a strong preoccupation for self-improvement of the household, the team stressed the need for playgrounds, religious buildings and food markets, as well as facilities to support gardening, small businesses and increased opportunities for mobility. In the proximity of the houses, the hygiene and water supply were top priorities and a preference for larger houses and own bathroom facilities was mentioned.

The biggest challenge is to facilitate the building of a community of people from different cultural backgrounds, some not speaking a common language, and having to share most of the facilities. As discussed during the workshop, this challenge is also an opportunity, as most of the SDG members would opt for a common language and a basic education on how to use the public facilities in an equitable manner.

The integration of the host community was also a point of discussion and there seems to be need for services to be provided by the host community – such as provision of firewood, markets and businesses that would serve the refugee community. The SDG members also stressed the transportation needs, area where the Kalobeyei host community can offer services and support the integration of refugees in Kalobeyei.