Equal Partnerships – African Intermediary Cities as Actors and Partners in Urban Migration Governance

Partnerships in Garissa, Kenya


Pauline Cherunya and Daniel Provost

The Kenyan city of Garissa is home to approximately 500,000 inhabitants and is the main urban center of Garissa County, making it a major economic hub. The intermediary city is situated about 400 kilometers east of Nairobi, 160 kilometers west of the border with Somalia and 100 kilometers southwest of the Dadaab refugee complex. Garissa holds great significance in terms of urban migration and displacement in a context of regional conflicts, economic flows, climate change, and environmental degradation. To create an overview of actors addressing migration and displacement, partnerships and cooperation gaps, the Equal Partnerships project developed participatory field research with the county of Garissa and organized a local workshop in June 2022 and February 2023. The stakeholder mapping shows that multiple actors cooperate on migration and displacement-related issues. Facing scarcity of resources and capacities, they make use of existing partnerships and platforms such as the County Steering Group. Nevertheless, there is an urgent need to recognize the presence of urban refugees and to strengthen cooperation on migration and displacement between the national and the county government. The case study situates Garissa in the national and regional migration context, presents the outcomes of the stakeholder mapping, identifies opportunities and challenges of cooperative action on migration, and concludes with concrete policy recommendations for strengthening multi-stakeholder partnerships to address mixed migration in the urban context.