The Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Tokyo, Ms. Kaoru Nemoto visited four programme sites of the IOM Programme for Human Security and Stabilization (PHSS) in the Coast region and the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for the innovative Japanese technology used by the Government of Kenya to manage the immigration process.The visit from 18-20 March 2019 was focused on showcasing the impact of projects funded by the People of Japan ahead of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) 7 (set in Yokohama, Japan for August 2019) as well as share impact stories of the UN-Japan partnership supporting the Government of Kenya development priorities.
On 18 March, Ms. Nemoto visited PHSS beneficiaries - two individual beneficiaries, one community project and one Small Business Operator (SBO). She witnessed the impact of individualized reintegration assistance and community projects which support local stabilization efforts negating risks of radicalisation. One of the beneficiaries, Jonathan runs a portable water distribution business in Jomvu Sub-County. He started his business in 2017 with support from the PHSS, the venture was inspired by a demand in his community for door to door fresh water delivery services. He started the business with one water tank of 6,000 liters and he later received 8,000 liters tank and accessories from the PHSS. He said, “in my community, there is scarcity of fresh water as the primary source of water is bore holes which is salient. Initially, customers used to buy water from my shop, then I felt that I would get more customers if I started delivering water to their door steps. Since I started the delivery services, my business has grown tremendously.” Jonathan is now the biggest water distributor in Jomvu and serves more than 300 households.
Jitoni Resource Centre currently offers vocational training in tailoring, computer and hairdressing, has been part of the Community Revitalization Project funded by the government of Japan. The centre targets youth to equip them with life skills that will enable them to be self-employed or be absorbed by the job market. “There are many idle youth in my community. Most of my female friends stay at home or get into early marriages and I did not want to be in the same situation. That is why I enrolled for a course at Jitoni Resource Center,” emphasized by Fatma.
Two returnees who have been reintegrated through the PHSS shared their experience with the UNIC Director. They both run successful small businesses that they started in April 2018, and can now meet their daily expenses without relying on their families. Hasina (this is an alias) said, “When I came back to my village, I was afraid of how my community would react and I was afraid of being discriminated. However, the reintegration was very successful. I have made some new friends, started a business, and I farm too.” Ms. Nemoto asked Amina (alias), if her family accepther when she returned to her village. She replied with, “My family was very happy that I came home safely. But I have not told them anything about my time away from home, including my own mother. I am just happy that I am independent, I have enough to rent my own place and meet all my needs.” Amina also takes care of a 4-year-old son.
The PHSS has supported 672 individuals and 23 Community-based projects since 2015, including 145 returnees. The strategy raiseds USD 17.5 million of which USD 7.6 million is from the People of Japan. IOM together with key donors such as the Government of Japan, and in line with its Kenya UNDAF 2018-2022 commitments, strives to continue supporting the efforts of the Kenyan Government in Countering and Preventing Violent Extremism in the Coastal Region.
On 20 March, the UNIC Director visited the Nairobi International Airport - Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). She had a run through of the security system supported by the Government of Japan. The system, which has been recognized as a good model, has been operational since 2017. In early March this year, the Government of Bangladesh visited JKIA to learn from the successful implementation of the system that is managed by Kenya’s Department of Immigration Services. As the Government of Kenya continues to further enhance the security at its borders, the Government of Japan, as one of its main international partners, supported the Kenyan Government’s initiative to improve immigration and border management through IOM’s Public-Private Partnership with the NEC Africa. The support is crucial in achieving SDGs Target 10.7 Targets 16 and Targets 17. Ms Nemoto noted that, “Enhancing Public Private Partnership in Africa is key for TICAD 7 and thus I am glad to see the actual operation and to learn the benefit of Public Private Partnership.”
The government of Japan has been a major partner of IOM Kenya Country Office together with the government of Kenya in addressing complex migration issues such as immigration and border management, community policing and countering human trafficking, community revitalization, and livelihoods assistance towards the prevention of violent extremism.IOM also facilitated Ms. Nemoto’s courtesy call to the Deputy to the Principal Secretary of the State Department of Immigration, Border Control and Registration of Persons in the Ministry of Interior & Coordination of National Government, Mr. Wilfred Kinyua.