Construction of storey buildings using wood and iron sheet has become an indicator that the population in Mathare Valley is increasing at very high rate. This is apart from increase in house rent. The houses vary in size and the number of people per household.
A normal house is about 10 x 10 in size housing 3 – 5 people on average. The safety of these houses is questionable as they are never supervised by qualified personnel. However most people preferred them as they are considered safe. Lack of space for slum expansion has made structure owners to be creative and change their design.The design is also dictated by how deep one pocket is.
In the early 70s and 80s the City Council of Nairobi had constructed toilets and bathroom. A community elder who has lived in Mathare for more than 50 year told me that the project was funded by the World Bank. This led to laxity by structure owners to construct washroom for the community. Unfortunately due to land grabbing many of these facilities are no longer there.
Permanent buildings are much more expensive than semi-permanent even though located inside slum. The rent ranges between Kshs. 500 – 3500/- for a single room. Power, water and washroom are not a guarantee by the landlords. – Simon