Archive for ‘Education’

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

November 28, 2011

Problems facing slum up grading project in mathare

November 28, 2011

MY FUTURE MY TALENT in matharevalley

November 28, 2011

City wide clean up campaign held in mathare huruma

November 28, 2011

slum film festival held in matharevalley

September 6, 2011

Tandale-Finally Mapped

The mapping process which started in June 2011 from a blank spot to now a mapped has finally ended. The final map is a product of close collaboration between the community in Tandale and Ardhi University students. The community leaders mostly sub chairmen from the six wards of Tandale through the stewardship Executive Ward Officer have been very supportive of the whole process. In the last two months a few important lessons for community mapping emerged that I feel is important for community development workers and mobilizers. The most important less was that government structures at the community level is critical when introducing community mapping. The blessing of officer at the ground makes it easier for the map to be distributed to relevant departments in engaged in developing a community. A place which is marginalized like Tandale needs the support of all stakeholder be it government, NGOs, CBOs or religious institution.

Women / young girls engaged in the project exhibited more willingness and interest with the technology used, camer/video and GPS. At the end of the training, the best essay was about the project was from lady university student. She enumerated how we could use the training and equipment to address garbage problem in Tandale.


August 10, 2011


People’s involved in development is not something new in Tanzania, the first president of the nation once “If real development is to take place, the people have to be involved.” Working with community members today really reminded me of this wonderful quote. As walked with a group of community members to map one of the six sub wards and the biggest, I was first struck by how community members in our training went on explaining the what the exercise was all about and one community member responded, “Baada ya kumaliza kuchora ramani mturejeshee  sisi ili tuweze kuona ni jinsi gani jamii yetu inavyo kaa (When you finishing drawing the maps, bring them back to us so that we can see how our community look likes)”.

In an open society like that of Tanzania people have culture of being represented by elected people at the grass root and government has a good network of communicating with people. Therefore involving people and government agencies become gateway to success of starting community initiative. By the end of day, the government is the biggest investor in putting up infrastructure needed required for ICT development in most countries.

The use of ICT gadgets like Global Positioning System, modern video and user friendly digital cameras make it easier for people to want to use them in making and sharing information. By presenting what Ushahidi platform and its wonders, people in Tandale were eager to go out to map their community and tell their own stories.  A university Amuri has today designed his blog ( page to tell stories about his community back in DCR.

Having advanced ICT drives people from sharing and accessing information. Looking back at and the most publicize Kenya Open Data website which is more relevant to researchers than ordinary citizens. Open information data need to be open and not hidden in technicalities and boring presentation. A presentation like  this video demonstrates the inherent appeal of the idea shows us an appealing way of sharing information using technology can attract feelings and need for action.

Lesson Learnt: The key to people generating, sharing information in the community is dependent on how user friendly the technology be used and how it is presented.


July 12, 2011

Wasted kids potential

Daily hardships of the youths in Mathare. Education is the future of the young generation!

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