Together against coronavirus: a look at the work of GIZ in a Kenyan refugee camp

GIZ ensures that people living in and around the country’s second largest refugee camp work together/Interview to mark World Refugee Day (20 June 2020).

The Kakuma refugee camp in north-western Kenya illustrates the extent to which the coronavirus is affecting some of the most vulnerable – displaced people, of whom there are more than 70 million worldwide. With a densely packed population of almost 200,000, Kakuma could be classed as the country’s tenth largest city. Coronavirus infections here pose a major risk. Lockdown restrictions and dwindling food resources mean that vital supplies for the camp’s residents are at risk. 

What challenges does the coronavirus bring – for the second largest refugee camp in Kenya and for the surrounding population? And what solutions exist? Gabriele Wurster-Vihuto answers these questions in an interview. A native of Baden-Württemberg in south-west Germany, she manages a project of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Kenya that supports refugees and the local population taking action together.  

GIZ has been working in Kakuma on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development since 2015. The aim is to improve living conditions and incomes on the ground, for the camp’s residents and the population in the surrounding communities. For instance, local residents and refugees are being trained in skills that are urgently required in the region, with 500 people having already completed technical training. As well as ensuring a better level of income for those completing the schemes, such measures also create added value for others, which is becoming clear in the coronavirus pandemic: solar technicians trained by GIZ are currently working to secure the power supply for two clinics and four schools. In the event of an emergency, the schools are to be used as isolation facilities, which will benefit 37,500 people. 

Gabriele Wurster-Vihuto will be available for interviews on this and other GIZ initiatives in and around Kakuma and the neighbouring Kalobeyei settlement between 10:00 and 13:00 on Wednesday, 17 June and between 14:00 and 17:00 on Thursday, 18 June. Telephone interviews may also be arranged following individual consultation.

We will also be pleased to provide you with photos from the project if required.