Building Resilient Refugee Community in an Uncertain Time

When the pandemic started, we were training and seed capital to refugee entrepreneurs who were graduate from our incubation program to improve their economic condition. We were also offering community mesh wifi to customers in 4 zones in Kakuma Refugee camp to access information. The training of a new cohort of 20 entrepreneurs was just starting and thereafter provide them with seed capital to get started with their businesses. Back then, we had 10 entrepreneurs who were servicing their seed loans with some near completion of the payback. On the other hand, the community mesh network had just received a major operational upgrade by introducing a cashless payment to subscribe to the WIFI in only 4 zones in the camp.

The effect of the pandemic brought a mixed phenomenon to our business. The incubation program was severely hit and we could no longer run training and not every individual entrepreneur could have the means to be connected to a virtual class that was starting to become the norm. It was a halt to the training program but also entrepreneurs who were servicing their loan, slowly, they could no longer payback according to the payment schedule which affected badly our revenue stream to keep up with our operations.

At the same time, there happened a sharp increase in the demand for WIFI connectivity. From primary school kids to higher education students, everyone needed a stable and affordable connection to connect access vital information. We could not meet the sharp demand. We did not have any expansion budget. The first attempt was to channel some of the cash from the incubation program to expand the WIFI. That did not do much. However, we succeeded to alleviate the scarcity of service.

The wifi business has grown to 50% comparing to where it was a year ago. We have also been able to upgrade access point poles from wooden to metallic. The incubation program has been redesigned to adapt to the current situation. Through The HiiL Justice acceleration, we have improved our operations. We also have received a 20% investment of our ask from KDAlive to provide reliable access to information to 70k refugees in Kakuma refugee camp and Kalobeyei settlement as well as improve the economic situation of 3k individuals in these camps.

Join us today in the pace to build resilient refugee communities in camps in sub-Saharan Africa.

@tshilscom

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