Film launch: Protracted displacement and urban crises


On Monday, 28 September 2020, IIED premiered a film telling the stories of urban refugees in Kenya. This event was held to coincide with the opening of the UN General Assembly and featured a Q&A with the documentary makers and other urban experts

Last updated 30 September 2020
A view from above of densely packed homes.

An overhead view of Mathare, a low-income settlement in Nairobi, Kenya, taken from the documentary (copyright Know Your City TV)

The 'Protracted displacement and urban crises' film documents the experiences of a handful of refugee households living in Mathare – an informal settlement – in Nairobi, Kenya.

In interviews in their homes, women and men from Ethiopia, Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo speak frankly about the events that caused them to flee, their struggles finding shelter and work in Nairobi, and how COVID-19 is impacting on their lives and livelihoods.

Their stories demonstrate how little assistance they receive as refugees, and the challenges they face dealing with the authorities and humanitarian agencies.

The film is an example of how civil society organisations that have traditionally focused on slum-upgrading are reaching out to displaced people to ensure their views, needs and capacities are understood by and communicated to a broad audience.

Event coverage 

You can see a video recording of the complete event, including the question-and-answer session, below and on IIED's YouTube channel.

The 40-minute 'Protracted displacement in an urban world' documentary can also be watched independently on IIED's YouTube channel.

The event began with an introduction from IIED director Andrew Norton. Then, representatives from SDI Kenya, Know Your City TV (KYCTV) and the Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation (NOREC) shared their reflections and opened the floor for a question-and-answer session with participants.

The Twitter hashtag #ProtractedDisplacement was used to share questions.

The film was produced by KYCTV with support from Slum Dwellers International, Kenya (SDI Kenya) and Koch Films, and funded by IIED, NOREC and Muungano wa Wanavijiji.

SDI Kenya is working with IIED’s Human Settlements research group on the 'Protracted displacement in an urban world' research project that is comparing the wellbeing and livelihoods of displaced people in urban areas with those living in camps.

About the speakers

Andrew Norton is director of IIED and an applied anthropologist working on a range of issues related to social and environmental justice.

Tora Toreng is head of section of the NGO portfolio, NOREC. She has worked in Nepal and England with youth empowerment and human rights.

Jack Makau is the executive director at SDI Kenya. He works on community organising, support to social movements, informal settlement profiling and mapping/surveying.

Jackline Wanyonyi is a project coordinator at SDI Kenya. She is the lead coordinator for the NOREC-funded project, Media for Mentors.

Abdi Wahid is a documentary director at Know Your City Television (KYCTV) and Koch Films. He is also a participant in the Media for Mentors exchange programme. 

Kamila Abdirahman is a documentary interviewer and language translator at KYCTV. She was a participant in the Media for Mentors exchange programme, in the 2019 cohort.

Enock Oyoo is a documentary chief editor at Koch Films. He is a filmmaker and story editor with six years’ experience in the field.

Lucy Earle (moderator) is principal researcher at IIED. She works on the intersections of urbanisation, urban poverty and humanitarian crises.

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