Media on Slums and Informal Settlements
- Kenya, State to spend Sh880b on slum project by Ayub Savula
- The Daily Nation - State under pressure on debt 27 March 2006
- The Daily Nation -New plan to revamp nursery attendance - 17 March 2006
- The Daily Nation - Council spearheading plan to clean up city river 12 March 2006
- The Daily Nation - WHO pledges support for fight against infectious diseases - 11 March 2006
- The Daily Nation -Despite State efforts to rein them in, Mungiki still rule some city estates - 19 Febr. 2006
- The Daily Nation - Nairobi, Fire leaves 20,000 homeless - 13 Febr. 2006
- The Daily Nation - City slum firm uses internet to sell 'akala' (sandals) - 23 Jan. 2006
- The Daily Nation - Poverty looms over top boy's dream to do law - 31 Dec. 2005
- The Daily Nation -Korogocho treasures revisited - 19 Febr. 2006
- BBC News - Bypass threat to Nairobi's giant slum Friday, 30 April 2004,
- BBC News - Nairobi slum life: Escaping Kibera 15 Oct 02
- BBC News - Nairobi Slum Life: Kibera's children 10 Oct 02
- BBC News - Nairobi slum life: An evening in Kibera 08 Oct 02
- BBC News - Nairobi slum life: Into Kibera 04 Oct 02
- BBC News - Life after dark in Nairobi's slum 20 Sep 02
- The Christian Science Monitor - Kenyans buy into slum plan 26 May 2004
- The Christian Scien Monitor - More African Keeds Take to Street - 07 Febr 1994
- The Christian Science Monitor - Kenya's slums: new political battleground - 10 December 2001
- Getting Sewer Permission Has Been An Education By John Lange
Kenya, State to spend Sh880b on slum project
By Ayub Savula
Friday, April 07, 2006
The Government will spend Sh880 billion to upgrade slums in the country over the next 14 years. President Kibaki said the Government, in collaboration with the United Nations Habitat, had established the Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme (Kensup).
The program, initiated last year, is in line with the Millennium Development Goals and targets the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers worldwide by 2020. "This programme seeks to improve the livelihood of an estimated 5.4 million urban slum dwellers between 2005-2020," President Kibaki announced in a statement read on his behalf by Vice President Moody Awori.
Awori was speaking at the Special Session of the Africa Ministerial Conference on Housing and Development held at Gigiri, Nairobi. The function was attended by the Executive Director UN-Habitat, Dr Anna Tibaijuka, Housing minister Soita Shitanda and Local Government minister Musikari Kombo.
Kensup, of which the President is patron, aims to upgrade the living environment of slum residents by improving accessibility to basic services such as shelter, water, education, health, security and income generating opportunities.In his statement, the President said Kibera, the largest slum in Kenya, has an estimated 500,000 residents and covers 235 hectares comprising 12 villages.
"With upgrading of Kibera, the lives of over one-fifth or 20 per cent of Nairobi's population will be improved," the statement read in part.Works on the Kibera decanting site, which will cost an estimated Sh480 million have already commenced. The upgrading of the existing slums and informal settlements will address the backlog of urban neglect.
"Without significant improvement in the capacities of local Government and the private sector to provide services for the new residents, many of whom are poor, the problem of slum and squatter settlements will pale by comparison," Kibaki said.
The President said due to the high cost of building material and transport, the Government was promoting research on alternative locally available material and technologies.
The Government has already acquired equipment towards the establishment of appropriate building centres in every province, the Head of State said.
THE DAILY NATION - Nairobi - Kenya
State under pressure on debt NEWS
by SUNDAY NATION Correspondent
Publication Date: 27/03//2006
The anti-debt campaign kicked off yesterday with calls on the Government to own-up and tell Kenyans the reasons for which the loans were secured.
Religious leaders from the Catholic and Anglican churches, Muslims and Hindu Council launched the campaign during an inter-faith prayer meeting held at the Jeevanjee Gardens, Nairobi.
Postcards soliciting signatures on anti-debt repayment were distributed during the event.
With the slogans "Debt is Poverty", "Debt is Slavery" and "Refusing to Pay is Justice", the postcards also urge the Government to enact appropriate laws and to ensure the public approves loans before it (the Government) signs funding agreements.
Hundreds of people thronged thevenue. They were entertained by Korogocho dancers, singers and acrobats.
Anglican Bishop William Waqo said the loans onlyhelped a few individuals who, through corrupt practices, used the money for purposes other than what they were initially intended. He called on the G8 nations not to cancel external debts in developing countries selectively.
WHO pledges support for fight against infectious diseases
THE DAILY NATION 11/03/2006
Story by NATION Correspondent
The World Health Organisation has pledged continued support for the fight against infectious diseases. WHO boss Lee Jong-Wook said on Thursday that the diseases were taking a heavy toll on women and children.
"In Kenya, for example, one child in every 10 does not reach its fifth birthday...Of these children who die, pneumonia kills one in every five, while diarrhoeal diseases account for 16 per cent of the deaths," he said. "HIV and AIDS kills 15 per cent and malaria 14 per cent." Speaking after touring Nairobi's Mbagathi district hospital and a tuberculosis clinic at the Kibera slums, Dr Jong-Wook said HIV and TB in adults were a "twin-pronged problem." "The combination of HIV and tuberculosis remains deadly," he said. "Last year, TB was declared a public health emergency in the Africa region, and much work is needed in detecting and treating people infected by the disease."
The second challenge, Dr Jong-Wook said, was to change social conditions that foster and sustain the diseases. "In a slum area like Kibera, people's health could depend on their access to education, safe water and sanitation, safe housing, clean neighbourhoods, jobs and gender equality," he added.
Health minister Charity Ngilu, who accompanied him, said Kenya's health situation had continued to improve since the 1980s.
Dr Jong-Wook invited a local artiste, 19-year-old Johnson Mwakazi, who recited a heart-rending poem on the stigmatisation of Aids patients, to a Health ministers' meeting in Geneva in May.
New plan to revamp nursery attendance
THE DAILY NATION NEWS EXTRA Story by NATION Reporter
Publication Date:17/ 3/2006
Kenya has been selected as one of the countries for a pilot project on pre-school education in slums. The project is being undertaken by Global Leaders Forum in conjunction with the African Network for Prevention and Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) and the Ministry of Education through the Kenya Institute of Education and aims at providing affordable, sustainable and quality child care programmes for children under three years.
The rationale of the project is that many children in slums are locked out of pre-school because their parents cannot afford the levies.
Referred to as BRIDGE - bridging the gap - the programme aims at educating parents and guardians on the need to bring up their children in a healthy way and to rally their support for child care services.
In addition, it seeks to provide a system for protecting children against neglect and other forms of abuse that are prevalent in slums.
The project also seeks to sensitise parents and guardians on the need to take children under the age of five to pre-schools. It does this by rallying the Government, local authorities and civil society to support such programmes.
For a start, the project is being implemented in Korogocho slums in Nairobi but will be extended to other slums, including Mitumba in South C. Under the programme, selected households are identified and converted as day care centres for children under the tutelage of trained pre-school teachers. The teachers are trained by staff of the National Centre for Early Childhood Education (Nacece), which is based at the KIE.
In each of the day care centres, an average of 10 to 20 children are taught basic reading, writing and communication skills. The day care centres are also provided with basic teaching and learning resources developed by Nacece and ANPPCAN and to encourage parents to take their children to these centres, they are assisted to start income-generating projects. From the income-generating projects, they are also asked to contribute Sh10 each towards the learning of their children and this is aimed at discouraging dependency and making them take charge of their children's education and welfare.
The Nacece coordinator, Mr Henry Manani, says the project targets the slums because they are the areas where children hardly get pre-school education because their parents cannot afford to pay for them. Given that most of the parents cannot even afford to employ househelps, such children are often left at home with no one to take care of them. According to one of the officials involved in the programme, Mrs Linet Okeng'o, the day care centres are now spread in eight villages in Korogocho. Each village has a supervisor to oversee the work of the day care teachers, sometimes called day care mothers.
On average, it costs about Sh2,000 a month to run the day care centres. An official of ANNPCAN, Ms Ruzila Salambo, says the day care centres have become attractive and many parents, mostly mothers, because most fathers do not care about their families, are very supportive. "They know that in the day care centres, their children are safe throughout the day and get the right social and moral support they need for their growth.
An evaluation report presented at the Global Leaders Forum meeting in Italy last month showed that the project was started to change the lives of children in the target areas. Another meeting to review the progress in developing pre-school programmes for the poor is scheduled for May next year in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Since the Government introduced free primary education in 2003, pre-school education has suffered serious neglect, especially in public schools. However, most parents are too poor to afford school fees. So children under five are left at home until they are old enough to join primary schools. Yet, studies have shown that pre-school education is critical for a child's physical growth, socialisation and future education. At the national level, only 40 per cent of the eligible children are enrolled in pre-school mainly because of poverty, lack of facilities and negative attitude among parents about the programme.
Despite State efforts to rein them in, Mungiki still rule some city estates
THE DAILY NATION Publication Date: 02/19/2006
NEWS EXTRA Story by SUNDAY NATION Writer
On Thursday, a man was dragged out of his house at Gachie, Kiambu District, and reportedly murdered by Mungiki followers for failure to pay a Sh100 "protection" fee. The discovery of 34-year-old Kinuthia Njoroge's body dumped under a vehicle at a station sparked protests in which an assistant chief's house was torched and a chief's home and that of his neighbours destroyed.
Kiambu CID chief Stephen Ng'etich and police boss Francis Sang' said the killers had not been found. But the shooting of three policemen in the city centre in late January was the most audacious act by members of the outlawed group against law enforcement agents. None of the gunmen has been arrested, although police say they saw them but did not shoot back for fear of hitting innocent people. The vehicle in which the attackers escaped was later found abandoned hardly 200 metres from the shooting scene. Launch of crackdown The minister for Internal Security and Provincial Administration, Mr John Michuki, has since instructed police to launch a crackdown on the sect. Dozens of youths have been arrested in raids in Nairobi and parts of Central province. But it may not be easy to eliminate a movement that has spread its tentacles far and wide, especially in Nairobi's crime-prone eastern suburbs as well as Central and Rift Valley provinces.
Residents of the city's Kariobangi estate say Mungiki members are well known, but that police are not overly keen to arrest them. They accuse the officers from the nearby post of turning a blind eye to the gang's activities. Residents of Eastleigh, Mlango Kubwa, Mathare, Huruma, Huruma Ngei, Kariobangi, Dandora, Baba Dogo and other parts of Eastlands have to pay a "security" fee of between Sh 30 and Sh 50 a month. Shopkeepers part with Sh 250, while kiosk owners and vegetable vendors pay Sh100, and bar owners Sh150. Owners of pick-ups bringing vegetables to Korogocho and Kariobangi pay Sh 400 as delivery fee, while from each 14-seater vehicle, the Mungiki collect Sh 200 a day. A minibus pays Sh 250, and a driver has to pay Sh1,000 to begin operating on a route. A conductor pays Sh 400. A developer putting up an apartment block is forced to "contribute" a room from which the cartel collects rent.
Truck owners who supply sand and ballast to construction sites all over Eastlands also pay a fee. If any member is arrested, a representative is sent to the police station to "buy" his freedom, Eastlands residents say.
Four years ago, the sect members killed a police officer and set his body ablaze in skirmishes over the control of vehicle stations in Dandora. They are also accused of participating in the killing of 21 people in March 2002. The sect operates like the Sicilian mafia, strictly adhering to the omerta (oath of secrecy) and applying the death penalty for traitors, defectors and other members who breach its rules. On average, the police "Rhino squad" arrests more than 20 Mungiki suspects in the city daily, but most are soon back in business. Although the sect is best known for its vicious hold on the commuter vehicle industry, it is common knowledge that despite the police crackdown, it has extended its activities over large parts of the city, where it unleashes terror and collects the protection fee from business people, landlords, tenants, building contractors and vegetable and fruit vendors, among others.
Those who do not play ball are punished with beatings, or even killed, or their minibuses and business premises torched. The sect also runs vigilante groups to keep rival gangs away from their turf. Ironically, the "peace" they enforce in the areas where they collect the fee also ensures that there is no need for frequent police patrols. The members have a brutal disciplinary mechanism. A former member narrates how he was abducted by his one-time colleagues and beaten for abandoning the group. He was grabbed from a minibus he was driving and taken to Mlango Kubwa where he was stripped naked and clobbered senseless. He was lucky to have survived as some defectors have been beheaded and the rest of their bodies never found. Non-members who show defiance are held hostage in pigsties at Mathare and Mlango Kubwa and forced to eat with pigs.
There are other gangs running fiefdoms in Eastlands, and this sometimes causes bloody clashes. Such is the case of three youths from a rival gang, who were suspected of planning to rob a Kariobangi bar whose owner had paid the protection fee to the Mungiki.
When police on patrol found three bodies dumped in a pick-up at the Komarock bridge in Kariobangi in August 2000, it never occurred to them that the dead were victims of organised crime. Eighteen-year-old Samuel Ochieng Okoth alias Chichi, 24-year-old Kariuki and Banny Odhiambo, 13, were hacked to death after straying into a Mungiki territory to sell a stolen mobile phone. But nobody has been convicted for the killings.
Hacked to death
In the same year, a police officer was hacked to death in a fight with a gang over the control of the Dandora route. Police informers are often executed. In June 2004, for instance, a woman and her two children - a boy and a girl - were shot dead in their Dandora house in broad daylight. The vegetable vendor was said to have overheard the sect members at their base next to her house discussing the robbery. She informed police at the nearby Kinyago station. So on the day of the robbery, the officers ambushed the gang's vehicle at the Outer Ring-Juja Roads roundabout and killed two suspects. The informer was "arrested" and released the following day. Two days later, the gang stormed her house and killed her and the children. Her husband and their third child who were out the house at the time, escaped.
The fight over turf control between the Mungiki and the Taliban gangs resulted in the death of 21 people in March 2002 during the infamous Kariobangi massacre.
City slum firm uses internet to sell 'akala' (sandals)
THE DAILY NATION - Publication Date: 1/23/2006
BUSINESS Story by KENNEDY SENELWA
A community organisation is using the Internet to reach potential customers worldwide for footwear made from old tyres.Through the website www.ecosandals.com Ecosandals.com is boosting sales of open shoes locally known as akala. It employs youths of Nairobi's Korogocho slums. The name of the sandals varies with places - keyna, patti, mbao, ogolla, laalo and aguambo. The makers have travelled widely to market their product and for business training as well as to receive awards in the US, Europe and other parts of Africa.
Ecosandals.com sells other products such as kikoy shawls and shirts, jeans, bags, necklaces and wristlets made by the Korogocho residents. Imports and resells on-line Set up in 1995, the firm also imports and resells on-line some products, and helps the slum-dwellers to earn an honest livelihood through hard work and creativity.
The project coordinator, Ms Vivian Mwangi, told the Nation in an interview that Ecosandals.com's main base is at Ann Arbor of Michigan, the US, and gives back all the sales proceeds to Korogocho's Akala Designs, which distributes them to the residents."The initial philosophy of the group was that if it did not contribute some product service of value to the economy, then it would not survive," she said. Akala Designs is a cooperative society of the slum-dwellers. Everyone involved with Ecosandals.com is a volunteer who does not expect too much from it by way of financial gain.
Working in a neighbourhood reputed to be among the most depraved and crime-prone in the city, the project uses electronic commerce, creativity and hard work to enable the community to find a new lease of life.The organisation has developed its product so that the sandals have in-soles and straps of either leather or denim, and are decorated with cowry shells and beads, and they are sold overseas in prestigious stores.The 2001 launch of Ecosandals.com by Mr Matthew Meyer brought global attention to the sandal makers.The group has been recognised by the World Bank, the Youth Employment Summit, the Jefferson Awards committee and the Stockholm Technology Challenge for providing work in one of the most destitute areas.
Poverty looms over top boy's dream to do law
THE DAILY NATION - Publication Date: 31/12/2005
NEWS Story by MARK AGUTU and NELLY THECE
Tirus Irungu Maina, 16, overcame numerous odds including grinding poverty to emerge the best among candidates from non-formal schools countrywide, with 434 marks. And even after passing so well in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examination, Titus fears that lack of money to finance secondary school education might put paid to his dreams of a better life and appealed for support from well-wishers. The same sentiments were echoed by his runner-up and top girl in the non-formal schools category - Aswani Millicent Anyanzwa, 14, who scored 416 out of the possible 500 marks. Despite her equally good performance, Millicent expressed fears that she might not join Form One for lack of fees and appealed to wellwishers to help her after she hopefully joins her dream school - Alliance Girls high school. She sat her examinations at Riverside Memorial School in Kangemi, Nairobi.
For Titus, who studied at St John's Informal School in Korogocho, Nairobi, hardship has made him set his sights on studying law - should he get through secondary school - and later in life, venture into politics. His mission as a politician: to help fight for improvement of livelihood for residents of populous slums, who he said, have been taken for a ride by political leaders."Politicians have let us down, promising to make things better but nothing has happened. With God's help, I hope to be an example when I join politics," he said upon receiving the good news from his headmaster, Mr Paul Ouma. He is the only child Mr Asaph Maina, his mother having died five years ago. Though he expected to perform well, Titus confesses he did not anticipate leading the pack countrywide in the informal schools category.
He attributed his good results to hard work and support from his school, which sponsored him. Curious on-lookers who saw Titus being interviewed by the Nation team drew closer and upon learning of his success, carried him shoulder-high, singing his praises. Drunk with joy at Titus' success, one of them quipped: "Hata sisi vijana wa ghetto tuko." (We slum youths are also a force to reckon with). Mr Ouma described Titus as a humble pupil who spent much of his time reading and consulting his teachers. By passing the examinations, Titus has amply rewarded his sponsors and the school, said Mr Ouma. On her part, an elated Millicent told the Nation she was shocked to learn the good news from the school director, Mr Godffrey Mugendi, and her class teacher, Mr Gildon Shioso, yesterday afternoon."I still can't believe it, I expected to pass but not to be the top girl," said the first born in a family of four who aspires to be a neurosurgeon. She was accompanied by her father, Mr Maurice Aswani. She attributed her performance to hard work and thorough revision, which usually ended at 11pm every night. Though his daughter is hard-working and bright, Mr Aswani said, he would need assistance to help him send her to secondary school next year.
Mr Mugendi appealed to the Government to give non-formal schools free primary education funds to improve performance from the pupils. Non-formal schools are run by community organisations or religious groups and mainly depend on charity. Titus' school is run by the Catholic Church.
Council spearheading plan to clean up city river
THE DAILY NATION
Publication Date: 12/03/2006
John Gakuo, Town Clerk, Nairobi City Council.
The condition of the Nairobi River has deteriorated with time as the city has developed. The Nairobi City Council has noted with concern the environmental degradation. In a bid to regenerate the river, the council has decided to undertake a long-term measure in search of a lasting solution to this serious problem, which will begin with a pilot project. Due to the huge financial outlay, an effort will be made to bring on board other stakeholders.
Those already involved, besides the council, are Unep, UN-Habitat, UNDP, and the ministries of Local Authorities, Water and Health. The project is divided into three phases.
The first is a situation assessment, the second will constitute demonstration projects on some sections of the river basin, while the last phase will involve the management of the whole river basin.Due to the huge budgetary implications and bureaucratic system of donors and other actors, the council has taken the initiative through the Department of the Environment and has already stationed a permanent team of workers along the river to remove the litter and clear bushes.They are also planting trees upstream from the Museum Roundabout to the Globe Cinema Roundabout.So far, 105 trees have been planted in this section, with the target being the planting of some 500 trees by May. Our intention is to push downstream to the furthest point.However, this project can only succeed with the co-operation of businesses along the river and the general public. Nairobi residents should support the council's efforts to clean up the river by making sure that no waste is dumped into it. Most of the pollution is a result of the on-the-spot human activities. This is the only way to ensure that the condition of the Nairobi River does not deteriorate further.
Korogocho treasures revisited
THE DAILY NATION
LIFESTYLE MAGAZINE Story by JOHN FOX*/ Going Places
Publication Date: 19/02/2006
A mural decorating a wall on the street opposite St John's Informal School in Korogocho slum, Nairobi: "Ndoto Arts People use their paintings to raise awareness in the community about the destructive kinds of behaviour that they have experienced." We could taste the dust in our mouths as we drove slowly through the tight lanes of the Korogocho slum. Tight, because the lanes were narrow - and because they were crowded with people. Children on their way home from afternoon school, women carrying yellow and grimed water cans, a young man already staggeringly drunk from chang'aa (illicit liquor). The sides of the lanes were strewn with things for sale. You can find spare parts for anything here: From cars to cookers to hairdryers. And you can buy all manner of second-hand things: from well-thumbed books to worn-down paintbrushes.
We spotted Father Daniele Moschetti striding purposefully ahead, hurrying to where we had agreed to meet at the St John's Informal School. He was easily spotted in his bright orange T-shirt. He must walk many kilometres each day through these lanes. You could see that by the scarred state of his sandals and by the caked dust on his feet. Fr Daniele had arranged for us to talk with the three key members of the Ndoto Arts People - Moses Kabiru Mwashi, Peter Kinegene and Antony Chesoli. They were already waiting for us at his house, so we parked the car in the school-yard and made our way on foot through even tighter alleys, where we dodged the open sewers and grasped the hands of the many children who greeted us with a "How are you?"
We had seen the many Ndoto murals at St John's; there was another decorating a wall on the street opposite the school - a kind of morality play in two acts about the evils of drink - and there were many more on the walls surrounding Fr Daniele's house. A blaze of colour in the drab slum.
Moses is the leader of the trio, the founder of the Ndoto Arts People, I guess. He talked about the benefits of being a member of the group that was started three years ago. "As an artist in Korogocho I was alone for a long time. I wasn't getting anywhere; I wasn't able to grow. But now I learn from the others - and they learn from me. Together we are able to grow."
I asked Moses about his ndoto, his dream. He said the immediate aim was to bring the Korogocho artists together, so that they could create a "common market" for their work - and so that they could get more exposure and more recognition. The longer-term aim is to set up an institute of art for children in Korogocho. "We are remembering our own childhood," Antony said. "All three of us had a very bad past. We were taking drugs and doing other destructive things. "Our parents were not good guides. So we think that through an institute we could introduce children to art - and they could have a chance to discover how creative they can be. "When I was young, I started at the Creative Arts Centre on Tom Mboya Street. But my father took me away and sent me to an ordinary secondary school. If he hadn't done that I could have been into commercial textile design, or something like that.
"Back here, we were drug takers and drinkers - until Fr Daniele unearthed the treasure in us!" Now, inspired by the Church and the work of the St John's Informal School, the Ndoto Arts People use their paintings to raise awareness in the community about the destructive kinds of behaviour that they themselves have experienced.
Their murals pull no punches - about violence, in fact, and about rape, prostitution and HIV and AIDS. They are convinced that their paintings have had an impact, particularly in supporting community policing and reducing the incidence of violent crime and drunkenness. But they also paint more peaceful and positive pictures - about, for example, celebrating the ethnic diversity of Korogocho, where there are: Kamba, Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya, Borana, Somali and other groups. In the amphitheatre at St John's there is a very striking mural of many different people coming together to pray. The people of Korogocho love our art," Moses said. "But, of course, they can't afford to buy paintings!" And so the kind of community art that the three engage in has to be funded by donor agencies. The Church, too, has been a major supporter. It has provided an artists' workshop. But the workshop is still waiting for equipment and materials. So if there is any donor agency out there! ...
Another way you, as an individual, can support the work of the artists' group and the informal school is to buy the Korogocho Peace Game that I wrote about just before Christmas. It is a cross between "Monopoly'' and "Snakes and Ladders''. You shake a dice and move the required number of footprints along the lanes of the map of Korogocho - a very colourful and detailed map painted by Moses. If you land on a yellow square you will find a positive aspect of the slum (Kariobangi Social Services, for example, a self-help group, or the Tumaini conservation group) and can move further through the game. If, however, you land on a red square (get caught up in tribal clashes, for example, come across child abuse, or suffer police harassment) you have to go back a number of footsteps or forfeit a number of turns.
The first stock of the game has arrived with Fr Daniele. It costs Sh1, 500. If you are interested, Fr Daniele's number is 0733 702972.
Nairobi, Fire leaves 20,000 homeless
THE DAILY NATION
Story by NATION Reporter
Publication Date: 13/2/2006
Two people were injured and over 20,000 rendered homeless after a fierce fire razed Mukuru Kaiyaba slums in Nairobi.
The Saturday fire burnt down a high voltage power line, interrupting electricity supply to parts of the city. The cause was not immediately known, although residents speculated that it was an electrical fault.
Yesterday, Nairobi provincial commissioner Francis Sigei led a high-powered team to assess the damage. He said a 20-man committee had been formed to coordinate relief efforts and the reconstruction of houses, which will follow building guidelines, with room for access roads. He said all relief efforts would be channelled through the Red Cross Society. The society appealed to well-wishers to donate iron sheets, timber and nails.
Society spokesperson Anthony Mwangi said his organisation had donated relief items worth Sh1.4 million. Makadara MP Reuben Ndolo who visited the scene accused the area administration of setting up the fire in order to grab the plots from the poor and sell them to the rich.
Several people sustained minor injuries when demolishing their iron sheet buildings to prevent the fire from spreading.Yesterday, residents were rummaging through the debris for valuables.
Kenya: Nairobi slum battles to go legal plus AeonDrive
Date created: 2005-10-08
MIXED PROGRAMS (TALK AND MUSIC)
City Life is a series of radio and TV programmes and an online debate about how our cities should be run in the 21st century. Mike Crawley visits Mitumba community in Nairobi to hear about their battle with the city to stay in their homes.
Date published: 30/05/2001
Studio in: The UN's Habitat agenda sets out to improve living conditions in cities and one of the hottest topics at the Habitat conference this June was people's right to secure housing. Meanwhile, just down the road from the Habitat headquarters in Nairobi, slum dwellers are fighting a constant battle with the city authorities because they have no legal rights and are continually having their houses demolished. Some city experts estimate that worldwide up to 60 per cent of urban dwellers live in illegal and informal settlements. Despite this there are only a few initiatives trying to convert illegal slums into legal settlements so that the residents can begin to join in the life of the city and get better public services - such as water, electricity and the right to build on the land. For the government of course, it would be easier to collect taxes from legal residents, and have more money to spend on those public services. But this movement is only just beginning.
Mike Crawley visited the people of Mitumba, an informal settlement on the edge of Nairobi. The residents want to stay on the land - but for the moment their home is far from secure.