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[Kenya]The first humanitarian field seen from James, accountant of Nairobi office.

2019.10.9

Introduction
My name is James Gem working with Peace Winds Japan as a Finance officer in Nairobi, Kenya. I joined the organization 5 months ago from the private sector. This has given me the opportunity to have a first-hand experience in the humanitarian field which I only read and watched previously but now being part of the team that desires to bring a smile on the faces of the less privileged.

Brief experience in the Humanitarian field.
Working with Peace winds Japan has given me the opportunity to appreciate the positive impact of improving the living conditions of refugees in one of Kenya’s largest refugee camp, namely Kakuma Refugee Camp.

During an official field trip to Kakuma Refugee Camp in the month of August 2019, I came to appreciate the improved environment and living conditions for refugees in the camp. This has been possible by the contributions made by Peace Winds Japan and other NGOs in conjunction with other partners to uplift and improve the environmental conditions and living standards of refugees in the camp.

When I was moving around Kalobeyei, which is an area allocated by the Government of Turkana County for resettling refugees, one third of refugees are now living in permanent shelters. The environment within these settlements is conducive with communal Latrine blocks constructed within the compounds by Peace Winds Japan in conjunction with other partners.

 A permanent shelter under construction in Kalobeyei settlement

A permanent shelter under construction in Kalobeyei settlement

Even though a number of refugees in the main refugee camp in Kakuma are still living under the Temporary shelters, there is hope for them as construction for permanent shelters in Kalobeyei settlement continues through Peace Winds Japan and other Humanitarian organisations projecting to resettle the rest of the refugees to permanent shelters with better and acceptable environment and living conditions in the near future.

This has also given them hope and a chance to start a normal life away from their home countries with refugee families now able to afford at least a meal a day and even take their children to schools within the Kakuma refugee camp and Kalobeyei settlement.

In one of the villages of Kalobeyei settlement my fear of walking across open defecation was not to be as refugees have access to pit latrines constructed by Peace Winds Japan who also have been training the refugees on the need to use the Latrines and not to go out in the open spaces.
As for the school going children, I was able to witness newly built Latrine blocks in Primary and High Schools in Kalobeyei settlement courtesy of Peace Winds Japan and its partners.

Me and newly constructed latrine in school

Me and newly constructed latrine in school

This has made it possible for the children to study within hygienic and acceptable environments within the schools, enabling them to concentrate on their studies unlike previously whereby they had to move around looking for open spaces for defecation during their class time.

Handover of newly constructed school latrine with students

Handover of newly constructed school latrine with students

During my visit in Kakuma refugee camp and Kalobeyei settlement I noted the normalcy and the calm environment as the refuges go about their daily lives.
This has made it possible for the refugees to engage in businesses boosting the stipends they receive from the Humanitarian agencies.
Some refugees have taken advantage of the open spaces within the camp and the settlement area to do some small scale farming for food crops (especially local green vegetables) which they use for their food and even selling in the small markets in the camps and the settlement areas.

The small markets in Kakuma camp

The small markets in Kakuma camp

With a shelter over their heads and a place to call home, refugees can now have peace of mind in order to concentrate with more important issues like food and education.

Conclusion.
I have come to acknowledge and appreciate the benefits passed on to the refugees in Kakuma Camp and Kalobeyei settlements in improving living conditions and livelihood of refugees courtesy of Peace Winds Japan and its other partners. This I witnessed during my 3-day official visit in Kakuma.

Message for Japanese supporters
On my own behalf, I would like the thank Peace Winds Japan and by extension the Japanese Government and its supporters for their contributions and the part they have played to bring a change in the lives of the refugees living in Kakuma camp, Kalobeyei resettlement and other refugee camps within Kenya.