Maggie goes to Kakuma

Maggie Goes To Kakuma


Educational Centre


February 2020


Kakuma Refugee Camp, Turkana County, Kenya



Koen Timmers

Innovation Lab School Project

Estimated budget:

125 000 euro


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Making of

March 2020 the Maggie team built an innovation lab school in refugee camp Kakuma, Kenya. This pop up school is off grid solarized, has internet connection and more than 100 laptops available. Refugees can go to school here, have skill training and so on. The project is donated to UNHCR Kenya.

#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Back to Brussels

It has been (again) a mind blowing experience!
I hope they have Belgian television on the plain….
Don’t forget to watch tonight @20u10 !

#maggiegoesto #kakuma #upforthenextone

#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Day 14

The end (and even more “the beginning”)!

Official opening by UNHCR, TAG and Maggie Program. Some last minute finishings (mosquito nets), cleaning of the container, planting 6 Maggie trees, having our last lunch and taking some selfies. In the meantime classes continued.

Tomorrow back to Nairobi.
Thx again to all our partners, sponsors and helping hands. And a special thx to my wonderful volunteers Maxim, Karolien, Matthias, Pieter and Karel. You guys did an amazing job in this harsh conditions!


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – The Official Opening


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Day 13

What a hectic day…but finally everything succeeded. The furniture arrived, the classes were refurbished, laptops charged, internet rebooted, mosquito nets put into place. And so the first Skype demo lessons was held for more than 100 excited pupils. Special thanks to Mark (of the film crew) who happens to be also a chiropractor to heal Karolien’s back injury!

Tomorrow the official inauguration by UNHCR.


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Day 12

Filling is done. Special thx to all refugees who worked very hard to get this 50 tons inside the walls ! The lights and sockets are working, we have ultra high speed internet working on 100% solar power and team TimmersUNHCR Belgium are decorating the interior. Tomorrow the first Skype try out lesson will take place. Also a VIP (president of Germany) is visiting Kakuma tomorrow!

See ya !


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Day 11

Kids, kids and more kids. School is back open. They are really curious to check out the maggies and hug her. Last filling of the walls and some small finishing.

Team 2 with Koen, Fred and Ruben arrived so things can be wrapped up for the big opening soon !


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Day 10

Yes ! A day of rest !
Gospel church, kakuma 1,2,3,4,5,6,Kalobejey, some interviews and ping pong and pool. Totally reloaded the batteries.

Tomorrow last finishings
Bye bye!

#maggiegoesto #kakuma Unhcr Kakuma UNHCR Belgium


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Day 9

Filling filling filling.
Last finishings inside, putting the doors and some extra details. In the meantime the locally made school benches are almost ready.


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Day 8

5 minutes after the roof was finished, it started raining. That’s some good fortune!

The team is craving for a resting day (hopefully on Sunday.). We’re ahead of schedule so they definitely deserve it after 10 hours of work 7 days long under the boiling sun.


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Day 7

Day 7
No time for lyrics. Have to work! 
See ya.

UNHCR – Kakuma UNHCR Belgium @koentimmers


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Day 6

Today a special thumbs up for the roof ridge guys, Maxim (who is actually afraid of heights) and Karel (who can easily fly away 🙂 ). They made the top ventilation of the maggies, crucial in this climate.

Karolien and Pieter doing a little movie star act for the documentary production team (soon hopefully on Netflix, no kidding!).

We placed the first tarpaulins so tomorrow we are ready to start filling the Maggie and placing the floor. The electricians started with their installation too.

After work we visited the library and the studio of a local refugee artist from Ethiopia who will paint the Maggies with cool cartoon art so people will love this school even more.

Stay tuned. Hakuna Matata !

#maggiegoesto #kakuma #sdg4
UNHCR – Kakuma UNHCR Belgium @koentimmers


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Day 5

The full monty ! Two Maggie’s shining on site. The solar system is ready and operative and the batteries are loading for the first time. Off grid we are! Our Kakuma refugee team is getting Maggie routine. It gets hotter everyday so Paul, our fantastic driver, goes back and forth twice a day to get loads of water.

Tomorrow closing the walls and roof and the start of the electrical works.


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Day 4

Very hungry so today a stenographic message:
– first scorpion: check
– Maggie 1 is in the air!
– greenlink solarising the project on the container
– calibration of all the structure
– filling sand for the walls arrived on site

It’s getting real the innovation lab school!
See ya

Unhcr Kakuma UNHCR Belgium @koentimmers

#maggiegoesto #kakuma #sdg4


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Day 3

A very productive day. All the spans are ready on the ground. Tomorrow morning the 2 structures will arise !

It’s improvising to find some shade with this almost vertical sun in Kakuma. We hit over 40 degrees today. It makes working very heavy but at the end of the day the satisfaction of seeing the progress makes it all good.

At 18u we managed to make a quick visit to the kakuma university under construction. What a stunning nature if you leave the camp for a few kilometers.

Tomorrow we promise a spectacular metamorphosis!

Stay tuned.

#maggiegoesto #kakuma #sdg4 @Koentimmers


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Day 2

As promised it was a smoking hot day. We lost unfortunately one Maggie member (Maxim) with a sun stroke. No worries….in the meantime he is already much better after a day in his bed and on the toilet and the combination of both.

Nevertheless we managed to get ahead of schedule. First load and unload the temporarily stored Maggie components from the UN warehouse to the construction site. A human chain of Maggie members and Turkana workers made the heavy work light even though we brought more than 200 profiles, 200m2 of floor and 800m2 of tarpaulins (14 tons of weight) to Kakuma.

The empty container is put into place, ready for Greenlink to mount the solar panels on the 17th. Our team of very smart and handy refugees (2 guys from Congo, 2 from South Sudan and 1 Burundian) started together with Matthias (after a quick Maggie intro) with the pre-assembly while the rest was sorting out the profiles and assembling the first structures.

We worked until the curfew of 18h and drove back to hydrate with some African in the UN compound. Tomorrow at 7 we start with renewed energy! Stay tuned!

#maggiegoesto #kakuma #sdg4 #educationforall #collaboration @KoenTimmers



#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Day 1

Arrival in Kakuma, protocols, material check, site visite and first work preparations:

After a very short night in Nairobi, the Maggie team left Wilson airport at 6 a.m. to take the UN flight to Kakuma. The camp is so remote in the Kenyan desert that the only way to get there safely is by plain. Because of frequent floodings (these are the low lands next to high lands of Uganda and Kakuma was a lake in the past), jeeps are needed to get through the deep water holes in the muddy roads. Couldn’t hide that we felt a bit like Tintin driving these iconic UN vehicles. Check-in at UNHCR security, meeting with the team of Mohamud Hure for the planning and technical issues, safety briefing about conflicts, spitting deadly cobra’s, puff adders, scorpions and spiders (Maxim fainted from all these poisonous creatures and took a nap). Finally a visit to the construction site. We were welcomed by the children of Fashoda school where the project is located and by the very friendly principal. Karel and Maxim hided in the Jeep since they are very afraid of children. To end the day Karolien made a wrap up of the decisions all alone on a big terrace but rewarded with a fresh beer to end the day (that was the deal off course).

Hit the sack soon for an early morning start of the construction tomorrow. It’s gonna be smoking hot (>40 degrees C).

Stay tuned !

#maggiegoesto #kakuma #sdg4 #educationforall
UNHCR Belgium @koentimmers


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma 

A boy’s dream come true: taking a UN flight #maggiegoesto #kakuma @ Wilson Airport


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Off we go!


#maggiegoesto #kakuma


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Maggie Team

The Maggie team.
Very proud of my volunteers ❤️.

#maggiegoesto #happyvolunteers #teamwork


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Packing Tools

The Maggie is designed to be assembled with only 1 socket wrench 13/17 (last picture) and no special skills. But the Maggie team wants to fly, so we made six custom toolboxes with a set of power tools.

Thx again Metaleuven for sponsoring this gear. An extra step in Maggie’s professionalisation.

#efficiency #powertools #maggiegoesto #kakuma #plugandplay


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Planning update

Time for a final planning update before we leave:

#maggiegoesto #kakuma #teamwork #localcontractor #preparations#sdg4

UNHCR Belgium UNHCR, Kenya @koentimmers


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Foundations ready!

Put on your audio and listen to project leader Timothy (Turkana Building company) explaining what is what. It seems everything is ready for our arrival next week! 

#maggiegoesto #kakuma #teamwork #localcontractor #preparations#sdg4

UNHCR Belgium UNHCR, Kenya @koentimmers


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Doctor’s visit

Let’s get the Maggie team injected with some vaccines. Almost ready for Kakuma. Thank’s doc! (Karel Rosseel will join us too, no worries.)

#maggiegoesto #kakuma #vaccin #tropicalmedecine


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – The journey of our Maggie container

There she is!

After 10.000 km’s over water, rails and dust roads, the Maggie container has arrived in Kakuma. Due to heavy rain showers of the last days, the container is temporarily unloaded in an UNHCR warehouse because the truck isn’t able to reach the building site on the muddy roads. But she arrived safely, that’s what counts.

Thx Mohamud Hure of UNHCR KENYA and his 10 local helping hands for taking care on site!



#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – The journey of our Maggie container

We love it when a plan comes together just in time ! The local contractor Turkana is finishing the container base while the truck is heading for Kakuma as we speak, arriving tonight. 5 months of preparation is rewarded.

Special thx to our logistical partner Manora Logistics & Wim Dierckx (forwarding & proud sponsor), UNHCR Belgium UNHCR KENYA (local partner, custom clearance and handling on site) !


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Site preparations

Foundations getting concrete!

Beautiful casting work from our local partner Turkana Technical and Building Company even though heavy downpour hit the area.

Almost ready for the Maggie team to take over.


#Maggiegoesto #Kakuma – Kickoff

The projects of Maggie Program are all about maximising collaboration with local partners.
Today our Kenyan subcontractor Turkana started with Maggie’s preparatory works. Some groundwork and a light foundation so Maggie can serve for at least 15 years as a high quality innovation lab school. Classical heavy buildings would need very deep (2,5 m) and expensive foundations in this unstable alluvial soil. Not necessary for a pop-up school Maggie !

In a few weeks the Maggie team will start building on site. Exciting. Stay tuned !



Met dank aan onze talrijke sponsors!

Klik op de bijlage om een volledige lijst van alle sponsors te openen:

Back to top