Facilitating Solidarity and Inclusion among people on the move and host communities in Turkana County, Kenya
Working holistically with displaced and host communities to dissolve tensions and foster mutual understanding, respect and growth.
What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)
CWS seeks to address the impact of prolonged displacement on community relations and resource distribution through a holistic approach in Kakuma Refugee Camp and Kalobeyei settlement. One of the poorest communities in Kenya, Turkana County has limited infrastructure and faces adverse environmental conditions that contribute to poor agricultural production and economic development. Less children are enrolled in school, and gender inequality persists; most women are illiterate, do not own property and do not take up leadership positions. In comparison, the refugee camps themselves have better resources, with stronger health and education facilities than the surrounding community. More children are enrolled in school, and there are more opportunities for women and girls to grow and lead their communities. This creates the tensions that fuel violence between communities. This project will facilitate solidarity and inclusion between displaced and host communities, further exploring the roots of conflicts and finding sustainable ways to build trust through meaningful engagement. The first component will involve the formation of 100 working groups of 30 members each made up of displaced individuals and the host communities. Members will participate in a number of reflection exercises, psycho-social/trauma-informed workshops, recreational activities, and collaborative goal-setting to encourage self-awareness, build common understanding, and promote community-led change. The second component will involve providing language skills to displaced community members and host communities so they have more opportunities to integrate and communicate with their neighbors. At least 500 men, women and youth from both displaced and host communities will take English, Kiswahili and Aturkana language classes. The third component will involve strengthening community voices and political participation at local and county levels through advocacy activities and stakeholder engagement.
Geography of focus (500 characters)
The project will take place in Kakuma Camp and Kalobeyei settlements. Because Northeast Kenya borders many countries that have experienced conflict, including Somalia, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Turkana County hosts people who have fled those countries in search of safety. Turkana is one of the poorest regions in Kenya. We chose this location for the reasons mentioned previously, as well as our existing relationships in the community.
Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)
Combing opportunity areas 2 and 3, this idea builds bridges of mutual understanding between people on the move and host communities to dissolve tensions and understand one another’s common humanity, shared needs, and the necessity of working together to build strong, sustainable, and just communities by addressing community needs holistically and from the ground up.
What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)
This project addresses the human need of understanding and empathy. All people want to be understood, and to feel like their neighbor knows what it is like to walk in their shoes. Without meeting this underlying human need, humanitarian aid is only effective in the short-term. Thus, CWS hopes to not only help address the material needs of the community, but also those needs that can’t be quantified and must be addressed by looking at different stakeholders in the community and all the factors that contribute to tension between displaced communities and their neighbors.
What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)
This project will transform how community members understand the root causes of poverty, conflict, and tension by facilitating their engagement in honest, face to face discussions and activities. The uniqueness of this project is that it addresses these issues at different levels; at the personal level, the community level, and the national level through peer-to-peer activities, community stakeholder engagement, and advocacy for policies that better integrate displaced people into society. We will monitor positive change by talking to the community throughout the project about their experiences, tracking incidents of violence and conflict, and monitoring their successes/ability to better integrate, while also tackling how host communities respond and engaging them throughout the project. While all these components are necessary for long-lasting change, the most important component involves breaking down barriers between people to promote shared understanding and empathy.
What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)
Our idea is inspired by observations made through our School Safe Zones project, which helped build school infrastructure and improve community needs to ensure that more children and girls could attend schools. We observed an increased need for a more holistic response that looks beyond physical resources and addresses the interpersonal relationships between community members and the barriers and trauma that continue to divide the community. The methodology for this project is inspired by our Giving Hope program which was implemented in East African countries and focused on child headed households in the wake of the HIV and Aids epidemic. Empowerment implied that youth develop confidence in their own ideas and skills, find spiritual, psychological and physical strength by joining together with other youth caregivers, and generate the resources required to sustain themselves and their family members. We intend to implement a similar methodology in this project.
Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)
The project will serve displaced communities from the surrounding countries of Somalia, DR Congo, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and other East African countries. These individuals are registered refugees in Kakuma refugee camp and Kaloboyei settlement, an expansion of Kakuma that was created as a result of increased influx of South Sudanese refugees in 2013. While refugee camps have become humanitarian bubbles, the surrounding community of Turkana is extremely poor, resulting in tension between populations in the camps and the outside community who cannot benefit from these resources. In addition, they face trauma and need psycho-social support to navigate the difficult realities they face on a daily basis, especially women and girls who are survivors/at risk of SGBV. This is a continuing issue that CWS is addressing not only in this project, but on a global level as less refugees are resettled to the US and migration patterns change, resulting in more refugees remaining in host countries.
How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)
CWS will leverage its strong relationships with the community from our School Safe Zones project. We already have a strong presence and relationship with displaced and host communities; we've supported local communities and parents to mobilize resources and ensure that children have access to safe water, sanitation and decent classrooms to succeed in school. We are launching an adult literacy class for both the host and refugee community to enhance language skills and understanding. Safety measures undertaken in SSZ have made it safer for girls to go to school. Improvements to classrooms—windows, desks, paved floors—encouraged attendance. Providing clean water and toilets encouraged girls to stay in school while participation by parents encouraged more government engagement in solving broader community problems. We are familiar with applying an integrated, holistic approach towards solving a problem, and we are prepared to use these methodologies to broaden impact.
What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)
CWS will partner with the Refugee Consortium of Kenya (RCK) for the advocacy component of the project. In addition, we hope to partner with Turkana assemblies, county executives, community-based organizations and leaders, and sub-county officials to provide mentorship opportunities between community members and local officials, and training opportunities for group leaders to advocate for their community needs. We will also work with service providers to connect community members in need of services. CWS will hold workshops with Turkana Assemblies and County Executives and mentor group leaders on advocating for their rights. We’ll also work with local organisations and other stakeholders to link institutions with each other and the community. We hope to help strengthen the community, reduce conflict, address community needs, and promote peaceful coexistence.
What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing
Being on the move, crossing borders, and/or temporarily settled
Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing
Platform: Creating a community or market that facilitates interaction between users and resources
Idea Proposal Stage
Blueprint: We are exploring the idea and gathering the inspiration and information we need to test it with real users.
Group or Organization Name
Church World Service (CWS) is the name of our organization.
Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)
CWS is a global humanitarian organisation transforming communities around the globe through just and sustainable responses to hunger, poverty, displacement, and disaster. Since 1978, CWS has worked in Kenya to improve livelihoods, address WASH challenges, respond to natural disasters/mitigate disaster risks, and address discrimination against refugees and LGBTQI+ communities. CWS works with community-based partners to implement sustainable, inclusive, and intersectional interventions. In 2005, CWS initiated the Water for Life project as an entry point for comprehensive, community-based livelihood solutions. CWS has implemented WASH and Livelihood programs in the arid and semi-arid areas of Baringo, Turkana and West Pokot, as well as refugee camp settings in the Nyarugusu, Nduta and Mtendeli refugee camps and the Ulyankulu old settlement in Tabora, Tanzania. From 2016-2019, CWS responded to flood-related emergencies in the Tana Delta.
Type of submitter
We are a registered Non-Profit Organization
Organization Headquarters: Country
Organization Headquarters: City / State
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 700
New York, NY 10115