Posts tagged ‘Slums’

March 31, 2011

Coping: Poverty in Mathare Valley

A menu from a local hotel

I am not an expert of the topic of poverty but I am an experienced expert in living with the poor and poverty for 40 years in Mathare. Looking at different projects that have been initiated in addressing poverty, very few invest in poverty according to the basic definition of what is poverty. I am student of development studies at Kampala International University and listening to my lecturer at the campus, I have come to note that many projects do not genuinely address poverty in slums.  The basic definition of poverty is a situation of lack of or limited access to basic human needs. While communities struggle to empower themselves, expert do their best to investigate best practices to address poverty.

A very good example is the innovation and creativity of vendors in Mathare, Korogocho and Kibera who started selling small amount of sugar and maize flour for shs. 5/- to Shs. 30/-. With time, the corporate sector was forced to adapt to the changing times and reality in slums after investigating the buying trends in slums. We now have Blueband Kadogo. A spot check on various menu in hotel revealed that people operate on small budgets. When it comes to water and sanitation, people will try and look for a house near toilet blocks or water points. House next to these two areas is considered to be expensive.

On the financial front most people operate on informal financial systems. Groups meet once per week to repay and take loans. No money is ever taken to the bank. This system is very popular in slums since most needs are urgent. The banking and micro-saving institutions take long to process loans. While formalizing this kind of system, people prefer where they can access their money without difficulty. – simon

January 27, 2011

Hope for the Future

The future professionals

Preparing for a better future through studies

All societies are positive of what their children will be in future. Today I was touched by a discussion I had with 35 children from Kiamaiko. We were discussing a community clean up exercise to be carried out at the end of February in the nearby community. As we were discussing what was required such garbage trucks, spades, shovels, rakes and the rest, the discussion digressed into what we don’t have in our community. I was shocked to find that children were influenced to choose careers that will help empower their communities; Below is a response from six children what that want to be in future;


Mwangi, 11: wants to be a teacher in future

James Mwangi, 11 yrs:

He wants to be a teacher. James has been greatly influence by her class teacher who is kind and always ready to assist. The teacher also takes time to know how he is fairing at home more than his mother. He believes that being a teacher will make him be like the teacher.


Kenrich Avoga, 13yrs: He loves cars especially white ones. His dream is to drive a big truck full of goods from Kenya to Rwanda.

Godfrey Nderitu, 13 yrs: He has never taken a ride on a ship and he also loves being in the ocean. His dream is to work in a big ship like Titanic as he has watched the movie. He wants to be a coxswain.


Kenrich Avonga, 13 yrs, wants to be a truck driver

Rachael Wanjiru, 15 yrs: Rachael loves computer. She wants one day to own a computer company. She wants to be a computer engineer.

Wants to be a lawyer

Clementina 14yrs, wants to be a lawyers to fight injustices in slums

Clementina, 14 yrs: She wants to be a lawyer because there are so many injustices in her community and those suffer most are women and children especially girls. Clementina believes its all through being a lawyer that she will be able to protect women and children.

Issa Ismail, 15 yrs: Issa is not happy with the way houses have been constructed in slums. There are no playing grounds for small children. He believes that he will design good estate that children into account.

After looking what these children and who they want to be, I was forced to ask myself, ‘how do I contribute in helping these kind of children to achieve their dream? – Simon

January 26, 2011

German: Foreign Language

Teacher and German language

Mr. Ndeti is a volunteer German language teacher at Ongoza Njia Community Development Centre, Kiamaiko

It is mid morning and six young girls are being taught how to speak German. The class has been going for the last two months. From the look of things, Mr. Abubakari Ndeti has really done a good job as a teacher. Every morning at 9.30 am he teaches German language for free at Ongoza Njia Community Development Centre. The centre was started with funding from the French Embassy in Nairobi. The aim of the centre is to mobilize local resources through partnership with member associations  in Mathare and Huruma to social injustices.

Mr. ABubakari has been speaking fluent German for the last 10 years a skill he acquired from a German friend he met through arts and cultural programme. He has always felt guilty that he is not doing anything to help his community. Teaching German and speaking German gives him a lot of joy.

Apart from German, he can speak Kiswahili, English, Kamba and Kikuyi fluently. When we met at the centre he expressed a desire to be included in the community project as a volunteer and German teacher.

He has a desire to mobilize all kinds of resources that are not being utilized due to lack of employment in slums to improve the community way of life. He asks ‘why deny others your skills and you are not using it for development?’ The current number of student is 15 but sometimes only five attend.


Teacher using a whiteboard to teach students German Language

The students wants to learn German so that they can be able to learn more about the German culture, technology and establish friendship with other youths from German. Vivian got motivated to learn after watch a German TV programme on how to use simple tools. She was frustrated that she could not hear what they were saying even though they were translating. The Ongoza Njia Development Centre is planning to visit the Goethe Institute in Nairobi to seek partnership as many youths have expressed a wish to learn the language.- Simon

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