Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs Visits Kakuma Refugee Camp

The Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs Kristian Jensen visited Kakuma refugee camp on 16 December 2015. During the visit, the Minister and his delegation got an opportunity to visit a number of programmes being carried out by various humanitarian agencies including the Danish Refugee Council’s (DRC) upcoming youth centre for refugees in Kakuma 4 camp.

The DRC Country Director, David Kang’ethe, was among those welcoming the delegation in visiting the youth center that DRC is constructing in its field office in Kakuma 4 camp. This youth centre is planned as a training centre and creative arts space for refugee youth which will provide various vocational skills and protection-related trainings to the youth who form a majority of the population in Kakuma 4. The centre is funded through the Danish Collection Initiative (Danmarks Indsamling, ed.).

While at the youth centre, the Minister was introduced to two refugee youth who are the current 1st runners up winners of the just concluded Mr. and Miss Protection competition. The competition was part of an annual interagency initiative that aims to identify and nature various talents among the refugees as well as promote peace and harmony among the refugees and host community. The initiative this year has seen various forms of art (music, spoken word and film production) being celebrated and awarded among the refugees through competitions dubbed “Kakuma Got Talent Search” and “Kakuma Peace Show”. The initiative is supported by DRC, LWF, Film Aid and UNHCR.

The Minister finished off the mission by visiting a family of 31 year-old Tabitha Nyakong Ter who is a single mother and who fled from Upper Nile in South Sudan and arrived in Kakuma in January, 2014. She is taking care of seven children of her own together with another three unaccompanied minors. DRC has provided her with counselling and core relief items such as a mattress, mat and buckets.

“It is a great show of responsibility for someone like you to take in additional children despite your current situation in displacement. I am deeply moved by your sheer determination and kindness,” noted the Minister while visiting Tabitha’s home in Kakuma 4.

The Danish Minister was accompanied during the visit by other dignitaries such as: the Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Refugee Affairs, Mr. Edwin Ng’etich, UNHCR Representative in Kenya, Mr. Raouf Mazou, as well as the Head of UNHCR’s Sub-Office Kakuma, Ms. Honorine Sommet-Lange and the Turkana County Executive (Minister of Lands), Hon. Jane Ajele and who was representing the County Governor. 

DRC has been in operation in Kakuma since April 2014 as a response to the influx of South Sudanese refugees following the eruption of violence in South Sudan in mid-December 2013. At the initial stages, DRC provided protection assistance to the South Sudanese children but this has since evolved to a focus on responding to adolescent and youth protection needs and to also provide opportunities for livelihood support in an effort to enhance self-reliance for both refugees and host communities in Kakuma.