I have always participated in initiative that promotes access to development and self empowerment in my community of Mathare Valley. I believed in these initiatives and I still do. When I look at the suffering my community endures towards self determination, I am encouraged and motivated to wake very early each morning to contribute my knowledge and skills.
However today, I encountered a totally different scenario, does charity and aid really help people in my community? My comrades in struggle and staunch believer in revolution thinks I should be encouraging political education instead. Sometimes in June 2007, I listened to Andrew Mwendwa from Uganda presenting at the TED Talk Show and he said “…solutions to African does lie in massive increase to aid/charity…nobody has ever become rich because of charity…” he paused. In his presentation Andrew proposes that we should engage local entrepreneurs if we are to be successful in addressing poverty instead of engaging the IMF and World Bank. To some extend I agree. Unfortunately many local businessmen have been engaged in unhealthy business practices which involve corruptions and inflation of cost related to projects.
Stability in poverty stricken neighbourhood such as Mathare and other slums is mainly depends how far the basic human needs have meet. According Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, for a human being to feel complete and reach their potential, their basic needs must be met. When I look at Mathare Valley, house and access to food is a very big challenge. There is no way we can expect our community to raise up and challenge bad leadership when their most important needs such as food, shelter and water have not been met. – Simon