June 7, 2012
Walking around the community (Mathare) one will notice the high numbers of young with mobile phones. The most preferred handset among the youth are those with access to internet while old people want handset through which they can access Mpesa. People do not care much whether it is a Chinese or European make.
The days of using mobile phones for calling and talking purposes are long gone. This is just like when people used to work with computers for typing alone. When have reached a stage that access to mobile phone is slowly becoming ‘right’ for all.
The use of computers is quite rampant but not as high as use of mobile phones. There is need to investigate how use of mobile phones can be used to enhance service delivery to the people in informal settlement. The identification of services and needs will help software developers to come up with mobile phone applications to enhance efficiency in service delivery.
Having programmes to facilitate access to cheap phones and computers in the informal settlement can help stimulate meaningful dialogue for development. – Simon
January 19, 2012
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. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2011/04/20/the-worlds-highest-paid-soccer-players/. 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
May 17, 2011
Youth Election, Mathare
The youths from wider Mathare have been engaged in serious campaigns to elect youth representatives right from the grassroots to national level. Tomorrow (18/5/2011) the elections will be held country wide for the local youth representatives. Both male and female candidates have come out to vie for various positions.
The process so far has been peaceful and there is total difference with how ‘adult’ led elections are conducted. In Kiamaiko for example, those vying for various position were called by the youths so that they can share their vision if elected.
Walking in the community one will notice poster allover while other have printed brochure outlining their agenda if elected. In Mathare I have liked the creativity by those seeking to be elected.
Many contestants have avoided being associated with the local MP, hon. Bishop Wanjiru or councillors as this will cost them votes. This should be a pointer to the 2012 general election direction.
On the criteria set, the election is bound to lock out youth who have been active in the community because of education requirement. It is common sense in places such Mathare slums, it is youth who are less educated that have always been available to volunteer in community led projects. In the place of education, the Ministry of Youth should have substituted the requirement with how one has been active in the community. Above that, the government should be commended for putting system in place being the first election.
Our centre provided a base for voter registration and from the look of things; it seems that very few youths registered. If the youth are to capture power, then voter registration should be taken seriously. The only thing missing is the vibrant involvement of big NGOs and the United Stated of America embassy in Nairobi unlike the general elections when there is huge investments by NGOs and foreign mission. The USA ambassador will have done the job half way he had started of grooming youth leaders for 2012 and beyond. – Simon
February 16, 2011
The current situation being addressed by the community
The high level of unemployment, crime, school dropout and poverty in Mathare Valley; youths have been forced to organize themselves for self determination.
The poor delivery of basic services in Mathare Valley has led to the formation of self help groups and community based organizations in Mathare Valley. These groups have been forced to self organize so as to address their challenges since the government has been overwhelmed. For example, there are more than ten groups which have been formed to address unclean environment. The groups collect garbage from people’s houses and in return they are paid by the residents. The local City Council of Nairobi staff from the cleansing department cannot be able to cope. On a daily basis groups deposit garbage in designated areas in the hope that the City Council of Nairobi contracted lorries will ferry the garbage to dumping site.
The delay in the collection has resulted into some unemployed youths initiating sorting of garbage initiatives. Youth are mainly interested in plastics, metal and bottles. Groups can easily sell the sorted waste. Groups engaging in rearing of pigs and cattle also benefit from the organic (food) waste as it is put aside and sold for those undertaking livestock rearing.
Addressing environmental issues has been entry point through which people in Mathare Valley have been organized and engaged in introducing gender, inequality, sports and HIV/AIDS. Mathare Youth Sports Association is an example of a successful group which has tried addressing garbage problem but with little success. It is important for small organic initiative be supported since they are more sustainable and have people’s support. – Simon