Lodwar, Kenya and Borlänge, Sweden. Two different municipalities approximately 6000km apart facing similar challenges: how to successfully integrate refugees into their communities and set them on the path for fulfilling and productive lives.
Kristina Westhed, International Coordinator in Borlänge, was present at a seminar organised by ICLD in July 2017 when she heard a presentation about how a municipality in Kenya was working to help Somali refugees integrate into their host community of Lodwar in Kenya. Realising that in Borlänge they also faced similar challenges, she approached the presenter.
Representatives for the two municipalities decided that it could be mutually beneficial to partner and together applied to ICLD’s Municipal Partnership Programme to conduct the inception phase of a project to sustainably integrate Somali refugees into their respective communities.
Speaking during their visit to Borlänge, Minister of Lands, Housing, Physical & Urban Area Planning Esther Lokwei said they had come to learn what the municipality is doing about refugees and to share their own experience of how in spite of limited resources in Lodwar, they’re actively working towards building linkages between the host community and the refugees.