The Japanese Government through one of its top official from the Japanese Embassy in Kenya visited Kakuma in North Western Kenya to asses various Japan funded projects that IOM has been implementing in the region since 2009.
The principal objective of the field visit on 18 February 2013 by Mihoko Sakai, Researcher/Advisor of Economic Cooperation Division, Embassy of Japan in Kenya was to provide a better understanding of the projects funded by the Japanese Government, show achievements of the project and provide ideas for future collaboration. This was the first ever field visit by the donor in Northern Kenya.
Some of the projects she visited in Lodwar included the fish market and fish Processing Unit and the basketry shed for women. In Kakuma she toured the vocational training centre, the peace centre, treated borehole, Car wash and Kakuma Radio station.
During her interactions with beneficiaries she lauded the projects and the positive impact on the people of Kakuma. Ms. Sakai Mihoko also stressed the need sustainability. “I basically think IOM activities have been well adopted in the local communities and would like to thank IOM for its work,” she said.
When asked about which projects impressed her most: “The Car wash place, FM radio station and borehole projects were just amazing. People at these projects displayed their commitment towards making the projects succeed. Their managerial skills were also impressive.”
She beseeched the beneficiaries to ensure that their projects are sustainable enough and serve the people intended to. “I hope they can have some independent way of thinking that they themselves need to be drivers of their own projects,” she implored.
The Government of Japan has in the past four years extended millions in funding to support IOM humanitarian services for migrants, host communities, returnees and internally displaced people in East and the Horn of Africa. In Kenya, IOM has been implementing initiatives touching on health, livelihood activities, peace and psychosocial support in Dadaab, Garissa, Kakuma and its environs and Kapenguria.
The initiatives are meant to help both the refugees and members of the host community cope with effects of the 2011 Horn of Africa Drought and also build their resilience in the wake of the drought. In Eldoret IOM through funding from the Japanese Government implemented the Shelter and Livelihood for Peace and Reconciliation project following the 2007/08 post-election violence.
These funding were disbursed through the Japan Supplementary Budget as well as through the Japan Peace building Fund. In December 2013, Japanese Ambassador to Kenya H.E Toshihisa Takata lauded the work of IOM and pointed out that “the Government of Japan wishes to continue with its cooperation with IOM in its various programmes and activities.”