Toyota Foundation welcomes refugees in new Nairobi training programme


The Toyota Kenya Foundation, in partnership with UN Women and the Government of Japan, has launched a new training programme for women and youth from Kakuma Refugee Camp and Turkana host communities. The auto-motive repair and maintenance course brings an initial cohort of 30 students to Nairobi to build on their livelihood skills and increase future job opportunities. 


Micheline Nikundana, from Burundi, is one of 30 students participating in the new auto-motive training course at the Toyota Foundation Academy in Nairobi
Micheline Nikundana, from Burundi, is one of 30 students participating in the new auto-motive training course at the Toyota Foundation Academy in Nairobi. Photo: UN Women/Luke Horswell


The partnership between Government of Japan, UN Women and Toyota Kenya Foundation Registered Trustees (TKFRT) is specifically designed to enable refugees to be more self-reliant in the long-term. The programme will also foster more productive socio-economic interaction between refugee and host communities, leveraging their skills to strengthen Kenya's economic development.

In addition to the Nairobi training programme, Toyota Kenya Foundation and UN Women are establishing a new auto-motive garage in Turkana County to provide a workplace for the graduates of the Toyota trainees. This is in partnership with the Department of Refugee Services under the Ministry of Interior and Peace Winds Japan. 

UN Women Kenya Country Representative Anna Mutavati stressed the importance of women’s economic empowerment in humanitarian contexts:

“Women and girls affected by conflict and disasters face heightened risks and endure bigger obstacles in accessing opportunities to grow. Initiatives like this can provide stable sources of income for meeting their daily needs including health, education and food security. It enables freedom from domestic violence and options for walking out of abusive relationships.”

In addition to automotive courses, the programme offers science and technology-based training courses and seeks to increase job and income generation opportunities in the manufacturing and engineering fields – where their male counterpart are often dominant. Economic empowerment is one component of UN Women's LEAP project, strengthening women's leadership, empowerment, access to services, and protection in humanitarian settings. In Kenya, this project has been supported by the Government of Japan since 2018.

In his remarks, Ambassador Okaniwa said, “Japan has continuously supported  refugees and host communities in Kenya through contributions to UN organizations and Japanese NGOs. Japan’s contribution amounted to nearly US$23,000,000 between 2019 - 2022, including funds for UN Women. I look forward to seeing the trainees return after completing the course, improving their livelihoods, and promoting economic growth in the local areas.”