Youth Livelihoods

The current situation being addressed by the community

The high level of unemployment, crime, school dropout and poverty in Mathare Valley; youths have been forced to organize themselves for self determination.

The poor delivery of basic services in Mathare Valley has led to the formation of self help groups and community based organizations in Mathare Valley. These groups have been forced to self organize so as to address their challenges since the government has been overwhelmed. For example, there are more than ten groups which have been formed to address unclean environment. The groups collect garbage from people’s houses and in return they are paid by the residents. The local City Council of Nairobi staff from the cleansing department cannot be able to cope. On a daily basis groups deposit garbage in designated areas in the hope that the City Council of Nairobi contracted lorries will ferry the garbage to dumping site.

The delay in the collection has resulted into some unemployed youths initiating sorting of garbage initiatives. Youth are mainly interested in plastics, metal and bottles. Groups can easily sell the sorted waste. Groups engaging in rearing of pigs and cattle also benefit from the organic (food) waste as it is put aside and sold for those undertaking livestock rearing.

Addressing environmental issues has been entry point through which people in Mathare Valley have been organized and engaged in introducing gender, inequality, sports and HIV/AIDS. Mathare Youth Sports Association is an example of a successful group which has tried addressing garbage problem but with little success. It is important for small organic initiative be supported since they are more sustainable and have people’s support. – Simon


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