Archive for January, 2012

January 28, 2012

Using social Media to monitor government projects in mathare

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             The government of Kenya is spending millions of shillings through constituency development fund and local authority transfer fund so as to improve the condition of its citizens in both formal and non formal areas here in Kenya but now these funds as now turned to be a swimming pool of money to some members of parliaments and some councilors to get rich quickly without struggling later leading millions of Kenyans to suffer and languish in poverty. That is why Map Mathare team and the experience gained in one of Plan international Kenya projects in Kwale County (YETAM) Youths empowerment through art and media we decided to conduct the same initiative here in mathare.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But ours was done differently due to security reasons most of CDF and latf official are very influential and powerful people in the community so we decided to hide our faces. We have hosted a webpage which will be used as tool of evidence to both community and government representative to hold leaders accountable to their selfish deeds. The auditing report was drawn from CDF website Stareheand LAFT report was drawn from community members.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   During the auditing the results were shocking since most projects stalled, incomplete and the community members were only involved in the identification stages and later kicked out during the implementation processes for more information here is our findings please visit

January 27, 2012

Elections and Food Insecurity

Urban farming demonstration centre in Mathare funded by European Union

Mathare depends on mainly food transported from outside. This therefore means that if a small disruption occurs then outsider traders cannot access Mathare and sell their food. It also mean that people will not have enough food for survival.

Walking down the valley, there is very little efforts being put by either the government or NGOs to invest in food security. It is common knowledge that during the last election period, traders could not access market to sell their commodities. In one of the villages-Mathare 4B and Gitathuru in 2008, people resorted to breaking houses to steal food and not electronics equipments.

I remember when peace had return after post election violence many NGOs started initiative addressing food insecurity. Currently the most visible programmes on food security in Mathare is the one being led by COOPI where by vulnerable community members are given Kshs. 1500 for food per household. This has been going on close to one year.

Given that we are nearing elections in Kenya, it will be good for various actors to invest more on ensuring that there will be enough food in the market by exploring ways of creating community based silos to store food in vulnerable communities so as to avert food crises. Currently various parts of Rift Valley such Burnt Forest have bumper harvest on maize. From previous elections in Kenya, it is common knowledge that whenever we have elections, case of food insecurity has always been reported.

There can be no free and fair elections if people are hungry. Democracy and access to food and security will always go together. In urban centres it is even worse. Investing more in urban farming and food storage facilities would help avert previous cases of food insecurity before or after elections. – Simon

January 26, 2012

Urban IDPs, Forgotten Lot

Mabatini, Huruma Corner and Kiamaiko were some of the hot spots of 2008 post election violence in Mathare which resulted to setting up of a camp for internally displaced persons at Mathare chief’s camp. The IDPs were from Mathare 3c, Mabatini and Mashimoni areas.

Today former IDPs held a demonstration to protest what they term as a case of them being forgotten or neglected by the government and NGOs. One of the leader of IDPs from Mathare lamented that while in other areas (Rift Valley) IDPs had been resettled or their -plight addressed unlike those from urban areas like Mathare had been forgotten.

Most IDPs I interviewed expressed concern that ‘the IDPs from Rift Vallye are being favoured while those from Mathare have been forgotten’.

After the confirmation of ICC case, IDPs from Mathare felt that nobody was addressing their plight or compensation package. A woman who was part of the demonstration said ‘the ICC case has become more to do with Ruto and Uhuru than victims of post of election violence like us. The government has rushed to form a team to look into Uhuru and Muthaura’s case but not about the IDPs’. This motivated IDPs today to match to Marthare District Offices to seek audience over the matter of compensation. The previous space which was occupied by IDPS had now been turned into urban farming demonstration centre for the community to address food insecurity in Mathare. – Simon

January 24, 2012

Reaction to ICC

Before the announcement by the ICC on the fate of six Kenyans who have become famnous worldwide for wrong reason; there was tension allover. The Kenyan government did not take chances with possibility of insecurity. On 12th January 2012, I was in Eldama Ravine and I saw local police rehearsing on how manage a rowdy crowd. This looked good and made me feel safe.

Back in Mathare on the big day that the six guys were to know their fate…it was all system go. At Mathare Chief’s Camp, the local administration was ready to respond to any eventuality. I too went home late as I did not want to take a risk having witnessed 2008 post election violence.

Generally people were calm in Mathare and in some areas people were discussing in low tones. In one of the discussion I listened to, it was clear people could not understand how you could let a police free while report were there about police shooting. On the other hand some people questioned why not all cases were then referred to Kenya since it seems that we have a strong judicial system? – Simon

January 23, 2012

Where Animal Converge

Taking a walk down in Mathare Valley one will come across small traders selling all kind of food. The diverse menu available in various food kiosk is a reflection of how multi-ethnic the community is composed of. From maize, bean, vegetable and different types of meat and fish.

Most of the food is brought by both small and big traders. Investing in food, one will never go wrong as people have to eat everyday. However strolling around, one notices goat and sheep strolling and mingling with people freely and it seems that they have adapted to city life. Owners of this animals are local people who leave them to roam freely and look for food. Unfortunately the most convenient place to get food are the dump site found in the community since all kind of organic waste are found. This is the only place pigs, goats, chickens and dogs converge for meal. There is no fighting but scavenging for food and concentration of the highest level. – Simon

January 19, 2012

Barcelona shines But Ronaldo Wins

It is five minutes past mid night or let us just call it 18t January very early in the morning and were all gathered in small video room which we have paid Ksh. 25/- to witnessed the greatest club match on on earth between Barcelona FC and Real Madrid at ‘Wembley’ video hall. Today the fee has been hiked from Ksh. 20/- to Kshs. 25 since it is a special match. The video has about 150 people crammed in ready to watch the big match. If you are an outsider you will be lying to yourself that people are there to watch the two teams or support José Mourinho or Pep Guardiola. Here it is all about Messi and Ronald. There are more people supporting English Clubs than individual players. Even Mathare United a soccer club in Kenya Premier League and which is being coached by Gabrial Njoroge who happens to be from Mathare Kosovo would not be able to attract this kind of support unless Ronaldo or Messi becomes the coach.

As the match is started people will arguing about the two players. From exchanges one realizes how people are informed about soccer and these tow players. One of the argument I picked who is rich between the two since it nearly generated into ‘war’. Who is rich among them? ” a guy shouts from Ronaldo’s corners and shouts its Ronaldo…now way Messi supporters interjects that it Messi. Another young comes with his Nokia C3 models and says that Ronaldo appears on the list of richest sportmen ahead of Messi…to prove his point, he googles and show us Forbes list showing. Never mind this a 2010 list. A few Messi supporters come forward to look and confirm but some are convinced but majority no…11th minute of the game Ronald scores and the hall erupts into wild celebration. All this is happening a few minutes past mid night. To Ronaldo’s supporters the match is over and there are constant calls by Ronaldo’s supporters for the match to be ended. I wish both Ronaldo and Messi could this live too. I am sure they would love it more than playing back in Spain.

Messi’s team equalizesthrough Carles Puyol on the 49th minute of the game. One would have expected Messi supporters to celebrate but this is not the case. This is not a goal unless Messi’s scores. All this time Ronaldo’s supporters are constantly make loud noise. The match continues and a lady is busy selling coffee and hot donuts. The match only comes to life in the hall when Ronaldo or Messi are with the ball. But again between 75th – 77th minutes supporters of Messi take up the hall through shouts and whistling; and when he passes the ball to Abidal to score, Messi supporters groan with anger. According to them, Messi should have scored himself. When the match ends….The winner is not Barcelona, Pep, Jose or Real Madrid but Ronaldo  is. It is dead at night but supporters of Ronaldo are more happy than those of Messi. Am left wondering why English football is still more preferred than others? – Simon

January 18, 2012

Violence and Weapons of Mass Destruction

Mathare 3C: Violence victim at Kenyatta National Hospital

Mathare 3C is well known for brewing of chan’gaa and on several occasion for eruption of violence. On 15th January 2012 rumours had it that 16 pangas had brought into the community in readiness for the announcement from Hague. In another section of the community, small traders located opposite Moi Air Base are living in fear of possible eviction from the site. Reason? Several soldiers have been attacked by criminals hiding in the nearby slums. Small traders are waiting for possible eviction anytime from now. Traders from different ethnic background have decided to deal with criminal and they have formed a group to keep vigil and ensure no more thieve will operate in their zone.

Elsewhere women are discussing increased insecurity in the area whereby their husbands have been attacked by criminals on their way from work

In the evening of 15th January 2012; local leaders, small traders, administration and senior police officers have organized a meeting to discuss the escalating insecurity and tension in the area and also looking at the rumours about the pangas. Why did someone bring 16 pangs?

After meeting that night, violence erupted.  Five people who actively contributed and participated in the security meeting are attacked. They are left bleeding and nursing serious wounds after being attacked. Two people are admitted in intensive care unit (ICU). A few community members come forward to donate blood.

The following morning tension is high and the real reason behind the violence has been overlooked and distorted. The area MP, Hon Margaret Wanjiru appears on the scene…as usual being a politician she politicize the whole issue. The criminals who were being pursued by traders turn it into tribal war. From the above scenario it is becoming evident that gangs are emerging and insecurity is slowly creeping in. At the end of it all weapons of mass destruction to watch out as we approach elections are; rumours, politicization of issues, stones, pangas/machete, tribalism, fire and forceful eviction. –  Simon

January 16, 2012


2012 will not be an ordinary year for Mathare residents. There is boundary review and the forth coming general elections. This will change overall power relation between the people and local administration. We shall also witness emergence of new leaders; will they follow and be guided by the constitution? let us wait and see. A place like Huruma will now be divided into two if the proposal goes through.

There will be need for the government to invest more in health, road, sewer, security, education and stimulating local economy. Chang’aa has been legalized, how will the local leadership transform this sector from informal to formal industry? How will the local community monitor and hold its leaders accountable. These are only but a few issues that must be addressed in Mathare.

Civic education forums needs to be established if we are to avoid post election violence as witnessed in 2007/2008.

The good news that has come out of the boundary review is the mention of approximate population of Mathare which according to Independent Electrol and Boundary Commission (IEBC) is as follows

Proposed Mathare Constituency
Mlango Kubwa- ward 20463
Mabatini – ward 48723
Huruma A – ward 36248
Huruma B – ward 36247
Kiamaiko – ward 33824

Previously people estimated the population. Now it is upon Mathare residents to appear before the commission and share their view regarding the boundary. It is these views that will help shape a better Mathare.-Simon

January 12, 2012

Celebrating Mathare Valley Blog

The month of September 2011 will always be remembered as important in the history of matharevalley blog. This was the month Map Kibera Trust visited Mathare Valley looking for possible partners to be involved in community mapping. The first organization was Cooperazione Internazionale (COOPI), an Italian international NGO working Mathare in the sector of urban development and food security targeting poor neighbourhoods.

Primoz, a Slovenian introduced the concept of community mapping using GPS. The participants were to be trained in use of GPS and computers. Plan Kenya office was to fund the training. The idea was simply to train youth on how they could develop a ‘talking map’.

A team from Kibera was brought down to Mathare and the process started. More than 150 youths from Mathare, Mabatini, Huruma, Kia Maiko and Mathare North expressed interest. Since the programme was purely voluntary, no lunch or transport; with time most youth had dropped out. The best thing that happen was about youth who remained. Ever since the team has continued to map their own community and share information with local leaders and NGOs working in Mathare.

However in December 2010, the Mathare team took a adopted a another approach from Map Kibera Trust. While Map Kibera team preferred using website and Voice of Kibera to tell thei stories, Mathare Team explored other options I started blogging since it does not require funding to run. Hence was born in December 2010.

The idea to start to Matharevalley blog was purely decided by people from Mathare me. This was to answer fears that if Plan Kenya pulls out, how will the team continue sharing information about community on continous basis. I thank all readers and organizations who have taken time to read the blog.  – Simon

January 4, 2012

2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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