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The Voice of Reason in One of Kenya’s Largest Refugee Camps

For more than a decade, KANERE, the world’s first fully independent refugee camp news outlet, has defied funding shortages and other challenges to publish investigations and reports about life in Kenya’s remote Kakuma camp. Now, with the vast settlement registering its first COVID-19 case, the publication arguably faces its biggest challenge yet. The team of refugee journalists is on a mission to keep residents informed about the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic amid increasing concerns that a potential outbreak could devastate the camp’s vulnerable population. The journalists have also kept track of various rumours circulating in the camp in a bid to counter the flow of misinformation about the virus, including claims that it can be cured by drinking tea or that it only affects white people or Christians. Having debunked these, their coverage urges readers to heed the advice provided by the UNHCR and the WHO. KANERE has in the past declined funding from the UN that would jeopardise its editorial independence, so the publication relies on contributions from its own staff and occasional donations of cash and equipment from abroad to stay afloat.