ISSN 1710-6931 February 5, 2010 Issue 150

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KANERE – Stepping into A New Year

The Kakuma News Reflector, or KANERE, is an independent news magazine produced by Ethiopian, Congolese, Ugandan, Rwandan, Somali, Sudanese and Kenyan journalists operating in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya. It is an independent refugee-run news source which has attracted considerable international attention.

On December 22, 2009, KANERE celebrated its first year of existence. For the past year, the news magazine has done a substantial amount of work in the fields of local news coverage, information sharing and international correspondence. The organization has received encouraging news coverage, archived under KANERE in the News.

In a letter to its readers, the editor of the online magazine stated that there were a few major changes and continuing uncertainty in the Kakuma Refugee Camp during the last six months.

This insecurity is reflected upon in a quote posted on the magazine from M.M., a Darfurian refugee who fled the Kakuma camp and is now in Nairobi: "I fear the man who shot me can still find me in the streets of Nairobi."

Despite limitations to the operation and growing insecurity among refugees, Kanere is pressing on.

Some of the incidents highlighted include a refugee man who successfully thwarted an armed robbery by disarming the thugs; the relocation of thousands of Somali refugees to the Kakuma camp from Dadaab Camp.

The relocation has caused the Kakuma Camp's population to swell to an estimated 53,000 refugees, resulting in congestion and other problems. Many activities have been carried out by humanitarian agencies in order to provide better service and protection to the new arrivals.

"When it comes to the issue of shelter, it was good at Daadab, but here [in Kakuma] we couldn't even turn up. So we exchange our food rations for poles so as to erect tents with the materials," read a post from a Somali new arrival to KANERE and mother of three children.

On the issue of health, a cholera outbreak currently threatens thousands, and the controversial "Mix-Me" nutritional supplement is going through another round of testing.

Health workers expressed concerns over hygiene in local spirit breweries and cited sub-standard food preparation at restaurants as a contributor to the cholera outbreak. Many of the bars in and around the Kakuma Camp have no latrines, while flies and other insects swarm the premises.

Health workers have suggested that these places be closed to prevent accelerated cholera spread of epidemic proportions. A Sudanese group leader agrees, stating that "people won't enjoy alcohol when our people are dying."

The editor of KANERE would like to thank its volunteer journalists, artists, editors, and supporters of KANERE for all the work done. It is hoped that these connections will strengthen and grow through the next year.

As Mr. Jackson Wachira, the KISWCD principal, said in a graduation ceremony speech at Kakuma: "I have a good message to take back to Nairobi. The conditions are not favorable and there is pain, but I can also see there's hope."

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