An update from Kakuma

18th June 2020 | Blog

Kakuma Refugee Camp in northern Kenya is the second largest camp in the world. Like many parts of the world, it is currently in lockdown because of Covid-19. Schools have closed and none of the 149,000 people that live there can leave. No-one can enter either.

People in Kakuma do not have electricity in their homes which makes it difficult for students to tune into lessons broadcast on national radio.

However, all is not lost. The books and solar lamps that supporters like you have helped to send are enabling students to keep reading and learning.

Here, George Nandi from our partner Windle International Kenya tells us more:

Kakuma busy street
Typical scenes in Kakuma Refugee Camp, where we are providing books

How has the pandemic affected life in Kakuma?

There is a restriction of movement in and out of the camp. Due to congestion in the camp it’s hard to observe the safety guidelines so people face high risks of protracted infections of Covid-19 and there are limited protective devices such as face masks and limited hand washing stations. There is also an increased rate of gender based violence and abuse, poor mental health and a drop out of learners – especially girls due to pregnancy.

Our learners face challenges in accessing devices such as radios, smart phones and internet bundles.

How has education in particular been affected?

Schools remain closed and currently learning is going on through radio lessons where Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development’s pre-recorded content and live lessons are aired. Reading materials including print, audio and video content are also transmitted to learners through school WhatsApp trees and online education platforms. But our learners face challenges in accessing devices such as radios, smart phones and internet bundles. This period out of school might result in increased dropout rates and insufficient syllabus coverage leading to poor performance.

Vision Secondary
This period out of school could lead to increased drop out rates when schools reopen

How are you supporting learners in Kakuma now that libraries and schools are closed?

Currently teachers have minimum contact with students however the school library books are being safely issued to students by teacher-librarians and priority is given to candidates [students in the final year of secondary school] for home study. Teachers on the other hand are tasked with developing digital content to pass to learners through the available channels.

Books provided by Book Aid International and also solar lamps … are helping the students to continue to extend their study time at home.

How are the books and lamps supplied as part of our Reading for All and Solar Homework Club projects helping?

As I mentioned, the teacher librarians continue to issue out books provided by Book Aid International and also solar lamps. They are helping the students to continue to extend their study time at home.

Showing a book
Books you helped to send like this one are helping students to keep learning while schools are closed


There are more solar lamps and books on their way from Nairobi to Kakuma project, how will these help further?

More books and lamps will mean that more learners, especially candidates, will be able to extend their reading time at home. The outcome will be improved performance despite the restrictions caused by Covid-19.

We would like to say a special thank you to players of People’s Postcode Lottery and Intouch Global Foundation for their generous support of our project work in Kakuma.


* Photos used in this blog were taken before lockdown.

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