Posts tagged ‘Mathare’

February 19, 2014

Mathare or Kibera?

Both places, Mathare and Kibera are a reflection of low income areas with overcrowding, lack of social amenities, high crime level, unemployment, teenage pregnancy cases, gender based violence and general lack of strong accountability and governance structures. Mathare a place of less than 3 Km sq has more than 200,000.

kiberaMathare and Kibera share four things in common. First both had quarry at stage in life. Second they neighbour some of the most rich neighbourhoods. Kibera has Karen while Mathare is to Muthaiga. Another interesting observation is that the too have golf courses nearby. Mathare is next to Muthaiga Golf Club and Kibera has Royal Golf Club. Major road road construction are going, across Kibera we have while Mathare has Thika Highway.

Despite all these abundance nearby there is imbalance in the investment made by civil society. Kibera attracts high profile attention and funding than Mathare. The slum upgrading in Kibera is just one of the example how huge investments have been made. One might argue that most of the land in Kibera is government owned and that is why is easy to carry out housing projects.

Poverty level in Kibera is more glaring compared with Mathare. From housing condition and to terrain the place is terrible. In Mathare people also suffer too but they ‘hide’ it wth smile and welcoming charm. So many research have been conducted in Mathare but very little has been used to transform people’s life?-Simon

February 7, 2014

Maps and Slums

mathareNairobi is home to more than 100 informal settlements with little basic social amenities of low standards. The most ‘famous’ slum in Nairobi is Kibera. This is a place with many NGOs activities than schools.

There is high presence of NGOs in Kebera plus the place being put on the world map courtesy of OpenStreet Map However the residents continue to live in usual conditions found in slums. However there is hope for Kibera unlike Mathare. If the Kibera slum upgrading is completed and the houses distributed fairly without corruption then we headed to good times. Slum Upgrading projects are better off if the development process is monitored by various stakeholders.


Looking at the informal settlement in , in Nairobi section one notice that some of the informal settlements mapped are, Mukuru, Kibera, Mathare, Baba Dogo, Korogocho among others. Amazingly, the most mapped slum in Nairobi is Mathare! Almost all schools, health facilities, disaster prone areas have been mapped in details and shared in the OpenStreetMap platform. But has this visibility translated into Mathare being a popular destination with donors compared with Kibera? And what could be impeding factors? (Next week Mathare and Kibera)- 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

May 31, 2011

A problem of open defecation areas and flying toilets in Mathare

Joshua mapping a toilet

In the last two months we have been actively involved in mapping water and sanitation, open defecation areas and open drainages in Mathare number 10, Thayu, Mabatini, Mashimoni and later in the rest of Mathare. During this process I was surprised to see people shitting in an open ground, not worrying about people watching them.

Children in Mathare lack playing grounds and recreational facilities. This is because a lot of free space is being used by open defecation areas therefore forcing the children to play near roads which often leads to accidents.

I was touched by what I saw during mapping process. Because of it I started my own investigation. I wanted to find out why people still perform open defecation instead of using the toilets, which were built, at a very high cost, by the NGO’s and the government through community development fund (CDF).

Here are my findings:

  • Maintenance Cost: For the use of a toilet in Mathare 10 one needs to pay five or three shillings daily or a monthly fee. If one doesn’t or can’t pay he/she must look for other alternatives – like using open defecation areas or flying toilets which are scattered allover Mathare.
  • Poor housing facilities: Most houses in Mathare 10, Mabatini, Mashimoni and Thayu lack toilets inside, forcing people to use flying toilets or open defecation areas
  • Poverty
  • Lack of awareness to proper hygiene and sanitation

Nowadays toilets are being constructed allover in Mathare. The area leaders have put out a request to the government and NGO’s involved in construction of new toilets, to train community members on importance of clean sanitation and hygiene.

– Javin

April 17, 2011

Information Sharing

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April 17, 2011

Transformer in Mathare – Power interrupted

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March 29, 2011

Employment and disability in Mathare North

George Otieno, aged 25 years, has been living in mathare north for the last sixteen years and he says that most of the young disabled people living within mathare north face all challenges identified by their peers but are further constrained by being stigmatized. They believe that they cannot compete fairly with those without disability, even when they have the qualifications.

Many disabled people have very few jobs in the formal sector, Otieno says. The majority are self-employed in carpentry, tailoring, dressmaking, and knitting and continually point to their abilities through their active participation.

In addition Otieno came up with this poem:

Disability is not inability

Disability is not separation

All of us can make it

Disability is not tribalism

Disability is not illiteracy

All of us can make it

Disability is not violence

Disability is not poor health

All of us can make it

Disability is not corruption

Disability is not unemployment

All of us can make it

Disability is not inability

All of us can make it.

— Javin

February 25, 2011

Broken sewers in Mathare

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February 25, 2011

No playgrounds in Mathare slum

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February 25, 2011

Danger of road accidents in Mathare

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