Slum Upgrading and Land Rights

English: slum (location ?)
English: slum (location ?) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Slum upgrading – the Kibra  case

Slum dwellers all over the world see a different world from the rest of the people. Their world is not as perfect –  it is somehow  upside-down, inside-out and confusing.

These people live below poverty line. The live under pathetic condition with little or no basic human needs, health, sanitation, piped water etc.

So governments and other non governmental organizations come up with the bright idea of upgrading these slums to uplift the living conditions of the dwellers.

So what is slum upgrading?

Slum upgrading (SU )is a process through which informal areas are improved, formalized  and incorporated into the city, such that all essential  city services by the local government are extended to the slum area.

Normally it is essential and very important that upgrading planning and activities re undertaken with the participation of all parties – residents, community groups, business and local authorities.

However, one key element in these processes, which makes a lot of difference is legalizing or regularizing properties and providing secure land tenure to the residents. This will make the people in the sum safe from eviction and who will also enjoy long term stability.

In such a case, the concerned authority, which is the government, is in the process, essentially “upgrading the community”

This notion is especially very important to the residents of Kibra of the Nubian origin, who have rightfully claimed the Kibra land from the national government . A land which was given to them over one century ago by the then British colonial government.

Incidentally, during one of the many consultative meetings between the Nubian Community representatives and the government authorities, a term used by one of the members of the government representatives was found to be improper. The “what if” phrase used was in bad test and was rejected. ” what if the other communities in Kibra  object to the idea of giving back the land to the Nubians ” , should not be entertained by the government  side. The government ought to come out firmly and decisively on this issue – in favor of the rightful owners of the land  of course.

Stop politicizing the issue!

Writing this article was not meant for making money. However, the donation will help me cover my blogging expenses in the long journey I intend to make advocating for the reforms of the marginalized minority and engaging in community matters.

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Slum Dwellers and the Problems they Face

map of Kenya and Nairobi with largest slums
map of Kenya and Nairobi with largest slums (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every day, every week, every month and every year, the numbers of slum dwellers increase in several parts of the world. The number is expected to continue growing unless there is a serious concerted efforts by all the stake holders.
Kenya’s capitol city of Nairobi has some of the dense unsanitary and insecure slums in the world. Among them are Kibra, Mathare Valley and Korogocho, just to mention a few. It is estimated that almost half of the city’s population live in slums and squatter settlements within the city, with little and inadequate clean water and sanitation. Housing conditions in these slums are deplorable and most residents have no form of secure tenure.
Kibra has been rated as one of the largest slums in the world, and the largest in Africa.

Challenges met in slums.

Challenges met are numerous. Most people lack money to buy food and other essential commodities, and rent houses. Access to all goods and services depends on having a cash income.

What are the causes of slums?

Slums come about because of, and perpetuated by a number of forces. Among these are rapid rural-to-urban migration, increasing urban poverty, inequality and insecure tenure – all contribute to the creation and continuation of slums. There are also homeless families, some because they have been evicted from other areas and some because they cannot afford any housing. And people escaping political conflicts – typically the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP).
Lack of secure tenure is a primary reason why slums persist. Slum dwellers have no ways and incentive to improve the surroundings. Secure tenure is a precondition for access to other economic and social opportunities.
Another big cause is poverty driven by failures of governance in states where public resources are squandered without accountability, and injustices and marginalization are on increase.



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Orphans and Destitute Children in Slums

human rights
human rights (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Lets care for orphans and destitutes in Slums

We seem to forget that among the dense population in the slums are orphans and destitute children. Their numbers is increasing at a rate twice as much as the increase in the slum population.
Wars, great epidemics (like HIV) and poverty (due to bad governance), have created thousands of these orphans and destitute s.
These young people who are the nation’s future are growing and chances are that many of them will reach working age and will have no earning capacity due to lack of education as they cannot attend schools. Many will probably not be able to vote.
This category of our community need help. If we cannot help them to have earning capacity,or help them to to have upright morals, they will grow up and be a menace to the society.

Early intervention programs.

Everybody should have a passion for shared civil responsibility. If everybody play their part, we would hold the key to understanding and solving our own problems.
We are hoping that Human Rights organizations, in their campaigns, will take a proactive role to assist in the matter, probably organize awareness day to spread the message about.
However, the biggest help should come from the governments in Africa. They should stop bad governance, injustices like marginalization which are the major cause of poverty. We all know that poverty is driven by failures of governance in states where public resources ate squandered without accountability.

Writing this article was never about making money. However, the donation I appeal for is for enabling me cover my  blogging expenses in the long journey I intend to make advocating for the reforms of the marginalized minority, and also engaging in community matters.

Donation can be made via PayPal using the button below.



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My History – Personal Portfolio

Personal portfolio

I do not consider myself a special person – rather an ordinary mid-class person, born from a poor family, and brought up in a slum. This slum happen to be the third largest slum in the world today- Kibera slum.

In my childhood days, I was an above-average student in primary school.  In the school I did not have many friends, thus I was lucky not to get bad influence from bad students.

Just before I was ready to move to secondary school, my parents separated (divorced) and I had to be moved to live with my grand parents (paternal).

This was the beginning of experiencing a harsh life, because of missing my parent’s love and that the environment and the living style had changed completely. My grand parents did not go to school and were obviously completely illiterate – although of course they understood what school is.

However, I had to struggle with my secondary education for five  years until I completed.

When I talk about harsh time during my school time, one has to understand a bit of history of the less developed countries of Africa, one has to know what slums are and how people live there – life which is in-imaginable to people from developed countries. ( look out for my next blog on slum dwellers ).

As I said above, the hardship is not imaginable. For example I had to walk approximately 10 kilometers to school and back home every day, going without lunch most of the time.

However I took my studies with the seriousness it deserved, reading at night  using kerosene lamp. This way I was able to pass my secondary examination and obtain a grade which allowed me to continue with my studies at university level.

But alas! would that be possible? No, my poor father would not afford to pay for my university education with a salary equivalent to $ 7 per month. I was obviously upset and bitter, but that was the reality.

However, being determined as I was to have good education, I did not lose hope, with a bit of struggle I was able to enroll myself in a Polytechnic run with assistance from the British and German governments. My joining the Polytechnic was made possible by sponsorship from an international cement factory in Mombasa.

In my 5 years of study at the Polytechnic I was able to obtain a Mechanical Engineering certificate to the level of Ordinary Diploma in Engineering.

By this time my father was very old and retired from work – no pension.

At this stage, although I was eligible to join a university, I was not able to do so because of lack of money and no one to sponsor me.

What else could I do except hunting for a job and earn salary and be able to care for my aged parents. This turned out to be a bit easy since I had an Engineering qualification. In those days there were v ery few people with engineering qualifications in this country.

I was employed by an International Petroleum Oil Company.

The country where I was born, and where I got employed is Kenya, in East Africa. And the company which employed me was The East African Oil Refinery. The Refinery was then being run and managed by Shell International Petroleum company whose headquarters was in the Netherlands.

I was employed as a junior Mechanical Engineering Inspector in a specialized section of Inspection. Due to the special nature of of work in this section, I had to be sent overseas for training. My first overseas assignment was in England at Shell Stanlow Petroleum Refinery, for a period of 3 years. And my second working assignment was in Australia, at Shell Clyde Refinery, for a period of 2 years. I then returned to Mombasa Refinery and was elevated to the post of Senior Mechanical Inspector. I have now retired from work.

I learn t about computers in Australia, and developed love for computers since then. After my retirement I sent some of my money to buy 4 computers for use in a Cyber Cafe which I owned. This idea did not work well and I abandoned it after about 18 months.

I then decided to venture in blogging which I am now doing all the time. With friends all around me, I am sure of getting all the help I need.

I wrote this blog as a short history of my life, which, I hope defines who I am.

Thank you.

Writing this article was never about making money. However, the small donation I plead for is for helping me cover blogging expenses in the long journey I intend to make advocating for reforms of the marginalized minority,  and also engaging in other community matters.

Donation can be made via PayPal using the button below.



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