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Turkana Project

Host communities and refugees in Turkana find common purpose in business development- an interview with Vincent Munuve

Vincent Munuve discusses the GIZ-funded project “Strengthening Entrepreneurial Skills for Local Market in Turkana West” in our series of interviews with SGL project team leaders. Almost 0.5 million refugees are currently living in Kenya, with Turkana hosting roughly half of them. The Kakuma refugee camp has been in operation since 1992, and many of the camp’s children and youth have grown up there. A lack of financial literacy, as well as business and financial management support, makes it difficult for refugees and host communities to run small and medium-sized businesses effectively. Vincent and his team of four experts were tasked with improving the entrepreneurial skills of 200 micro and small enterprises (MSE) made up of both men and women from refugee and host communities.  The project ran for a year and just concluded in September 2022.

Interview with Vincent Munuve

Vincent, what did the project achieve in that intensive 1 year?

We had to first identify beneficiaries and train co-facilitators for the business, entrepreneurship, and financial management trainings that we were putting in place. They would then receive a business tool kit worth 30 000 KES to help them get started with their new ventures. The work included a lot of on-the-job training, learning visits, and financial and market connections with local businesses. We were honored to conduct the first-ever ecosystem mapping, which improved collaboration and partnership among Turkana West development organizations. We assisted in the creation of jobs for both host communities and refugees, allowing them to access sustainable sources of income.

The team’s coordinated efforts to set beneficiaries up for success intrigued me. The beneficiaries’ testimonials about how the intervention changed their lives and livelihoods, giving them hope and allowing them to capitalize on their inherent strengths, were inspiring. The project introduced me to the MSME Business Loop Approach, a comprehensive package of business development services. Because of the unique project context and dynamism, the implementing team learned so much with and from one another.

That sounds great. Why were you personally excited about it and how did it build on your previous experience?

How would you want people to remember this project in 5 years' time ?

The impact of this project should remain a constant reminder to other development organizations, beneficiaries and other key stakeholders – that the trickle down effects are manifested in positive entrepreneurial culture amongst host and refugee communities, sustainable business growth, success stories worth replication and well documented effective and efficient strategies for future reference by donors, development organizations and researchers.

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