Mathare: World Water Day

A woman washing clothes near a water point in MathareThe next war in slums will be about access to water. Can you imagine 5000 residents with only one water point? While in the neighbouring  estate one household has more than 5 water points. And not forgetting that we all get water from the same company. As we celebrate the World Water Day, my hearts goes to all residents of Nairobi who are willing to pay for the service but they can’t still access it. In 1975 I remember as small, our house in Mathare Valley was surrounded by six water points and the vendors would pay Nairobi City Council. Currently there are very few points than in 1975.

In slums, women are known to carry their dirty clothes to the nearest water point. Across the valley next to Utalii Hotel, one will see men bathing. One day while travelling to Thika, there was a big traffic jam near Utalii Hotel and people were bathing upstream while down women were washing clothes. Passengers inside wondered why people would bring a whole family to river.”they should be arrested for being nude” one passenger shouted.

This is the reality today in slums. Access to adequate water is an issue which has not been addressed. In Mathare Village Two and Three, one will be met with ‘stalled’ water kiosks which has taken long to implement despite a colourful launch last year. Women walking from one water point to another is the order of the day. Women bears the greatest brunt of water shortage in slum.

Today millions of shillings will be spent in World Water Day, but how many water tanks have been set aside to harvest rain in Kenya given that rains have started?- Simon



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