Kakuma Camp was established in 1992 as a refugee camp on 25 square kilometres in the semi-arid desert region of northwestern Kenya. Kakuma is the Swahili word for "nowhere".
SBS Learn
15 Jun 2015 - 3:27 PM  UPDATED 3 May 2016 - 9:55 AM

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Today Kakuma Camp is home to more than 84,000 refugees from 14 different African countries. These refugees mostly are either Muslim or Christian. They have all either been forcibly displaced or have fled their war-torn home countries in search of safety. All Kakuma’s refugees have been traumatised and have seen unspeakable horror before arriving at the camp.

Kakuma camp is governed by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). The United Nations World Food Programme provides food supplies every 15 days. During the distribution of food, the refugees’ anxieties often emerge and tensions can arise.

While life in Kakuma might be relatively safe, it is also difficult. Survival is challenging. Adequate shelter, disease and malnourishment are common problems for Kakuma residents.




Task 1: Kakuma Camp

Identify the location, purpose and function of Kakuma Camp by completing the following:

a. Mark the location of Kakuma Camp on a map of Africa.

b. Name the 14 countries from which Kakuma’s residents originated.

c. Describe the geographical region in which Kakuma is located. 

d. When and why was Kakuma Camp set up?

e. Who administers the management of Kakuma Camp?


Task 2: Living Conditions

Watch the clip to view the living conditions in Kakuma Camp. Then, complete this task to gain an understanding of why Kakuma residents continue to live in such difficult conditions. Draw up a three-column table. Write the headings for each column: Basic Living Needs, Australia, Kakuma Camp.

a. In the first column write a list of 10 basic human needs for a healthy, comfortable life. 

b. Complete the second column by describing in one or two words each Living Needs availability in Australia.

c. Complete the third column by describing in one or two words the availability of each Living Need in Kakuma Camp.

Now, imagine you are a refugee living in Kakuma Camp. Write a 200-word letter to the United Nations explaining why you and your family want to move from Kakuma Camp and immigrate to Australia. 


Task 3: Food Distribution

Watch the food distribution clip carefully. Australian participant Roderick jokingly calls the weighing of the food the "refugee check out". However, the tensions and anxieties that arise amongst the thousands waiting for food are unmistakable. 

a. In relation to the food rationing, recipient humiliation, differing nationalities and crowd tension, the three Australian participants argue after receiving their 15-day food parcel. Why?

b. Describe their differing points of view about the food distribution humanitarianism.


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Reference: The Ipsos Mackay Report

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