Kibra being the third largest slum in the world and the largest in Africa has experienced a lot of criticism over poor living conditions characterised by poor or disorganised infrastructure, poor sanitation, high crime rates and other social vices.
While these may be true of most informal settlements in the world, Kibera slums has recorded notable development milestones in the last two decades. And as the country mourns the death of former Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, we sample some of the development projects that have changed the face of Kibera.
Soweto East Housing project
Soweto is located in the Eastern part of the Kibera slums. This upgrading project was implemented by the UN habitat in partnership with the Kenyan government 2011.The project sought to improve the lives of Soweto east residents by supporting community based initiative through provision of basic services, infrastructure and capital building. It foresaw the construction of permanent housing equipped with services for the residents which up to now gives Kibra an improved look .
Nairobi Railway relocation plan
Launched in 2014, this project meant to enable proper maintenance of the railway line as well as to reserve and recover the land.The project reclaimed the railway land from the settlers who had turned it to business area and housing structures on it.The land had been misused in more than one way and used to be a dumping site over the Years.The Government went on constructing housing structures and placed a boundary by fencing the previous structures.
Kazi Mtaani project
This project has had a visible impact up to date in Kibra and other places the project touched. In partnership with local youth organisations in the area have managed to reduce the amount of waste dumped in to the environment. Before the initiative dump sites were almost everywhere, sewage blocking the water way as well as open burning of plastic in the environment a clear indication that there lacked a proper ways of disposing waste but over the years ,the residents of Kibra especially the youths have come up with ways of advocating for environmental care through group projects which provide alternative ways of disposing the waste through recycling or reusing them.Through such activities they’ve become champions in their community and also got to earn a living thus curbing the rate of unemployment in the country same objective the Kazi mtaani project had in mind.
Kenya Slum Electrification Program
Until recently, many areas within most of the informal settlement relied on illegal connections as well as traditional forms of energy like t5rpetroleum as power sources .These connections were unsafe and prone to electrocution as well as fire outbreak .Kenya power and lightening corporation in partnership with the world bank over saw the scale up of electricity connection from 2014 up to date in the informal settlement including kibra. Through installation of legal power line, meters and break boxes has reduced crime rates and lightened up the areas .
Kibra Level 3 Hospital
The recent project so far is the construction of Kibra level 3 hospital with a 6-25 bed capacity for inpatient and out patient .The hospital was opened in September last year by his Excellency the president .Most patients crowded Kenyatta Hospitals and other major health institutions to get treatment as the hospitals within the area lacked proper equipment to care for them But now the residents are able to get heath benefits from the hospital.And with all the projects which are still underway better results are still expected. Kibra and other major informal settlements within the country are getting closer to a visible transformation though it will still take time.