Archive for May, 2012

May 18, 2012

Community First Aid Kits

Walking through any urban informal settlement an outsider will see ‘disaster waiting happen’ scenes. Looking at small children playing cooking games with fire, women washing clothes in dirty river, haphazard crossing of Juja Road, open electric wires, possibility of being mugged in dark place,  regular fire outbreaks and people living next to big rocks. The dangers posed broken sewer and open ones are even great incase of major disease outbreak. All these are scenes one will encounter while walking in Mathare.

There have been cases of fire outbreaks which led to loss of life and this was contributed by lack of access road in the inner parts of the community; There are no emergency numbers readily available in the community that people can call for assistance. When assistance is called it takes longer than usual since most people will expect community leaders to be the person to call.

Those who gets injured through various activities both good and back have to seek assistance in far places since the health centres near the community do not operate of 24 hrs basis. This mean that if a disaster strikes at night then it is most likely that number of causalities will be very high compared with day time. Availing first aid kits in strategic points within the community can help reduce number of casualities.  While there has been investments in improving infrastructure, very little has been done to deal with disaster. Having emergency telephone/mobile number people can all and erecting first aid centre can help reduce the number of causalities.  – Simon

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May 17, 2012

Why Map Urban Informal Settlement?

Informal settlements are generally ‘unrecognised’ in many urban settings. In years that have passed places like Mathare, Kibera and Mukuru were not visible on the net. With the advent of participatory mapping and Open Street Map platform, it became practical for communities that are hidden from rest of the world to be visible.

Open Street Map has now become the alternative to showing what most governmens would not want highlighted due to ‘policies’. My experience of mapping Mathare was filled with anxious moments and too many questions by the village elders. Elders in 2010 looked at mapping as a way of  demacating land and plot allocation and regulization.

Upon mapping mapping Mathare;  boundries and resource distribution in the community became evident and this was followed by meaningful discussions with how the community looks like and what is not there.

Local leaders, NGOs and community based groups were not left behind. The map has been become a source of inspiration and motivation to proper community development.  The disparities in allocation of resources by the politicians and local administration became evident and discussions ensued.

The power of people mapping their communities can no longer be ignored as it brings out the true picture of the community.

Thanks to Open Street Map, the underprivileged, invisible can now be corrected and made visible- Simon

May 14, 2012

Coming Soon

This blog is still under review and I will be soon making very informative briefs on Mathare Valley in general as we approach elections. simon

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