Sunday, September 25, 2011

Notes from Nairobi: Reminders that I am in Africa

This weekend I visited the infamous Kabira  for the first time. This Kibera (meaning forest or jungle)...opposed to the country club I was a member of in Kampala...this Kibera is a community in Nairobi with over 1 million people. (I will write more about Kibera in more detail another time- but did you see the Comic Relief documentary that sent British celebrities to live and work in the ‘slum’ ; ‘Rich, Famous & In The Slums’ ? ) The problems of Kibera are known around the world and money is thrown at it.( I will write more about  There are said to be approximately one NGO worker for every person living in the community-quite a figure.

The projects that work are (of course) self-sustainable.  On Saturday I got invited by a friend to visit a project, Kibera Mpra Mtaani,which she is heavily involved in; it is becoming self sustainable and (more importantly) a success! 

The project works by using football as a tool to reach out to young people. One of the things the organisation was able to do was buy a small plot of land at Kibera (from the very rich landowners...) for an Education Centre. The facility is a haven for pupils that go to school, that need a place to do homework (with lights etc).  There are weekend sessions, to keep children from spending money on watching porn and out of trouble. A lot of these teaching sessions are fun and active using resources that are not always available in local schools (not something the children often get to experience at school)-for example paints and colours were taken today to do some art with the children. There is a full-time member of staff and volunteer teaching assistants that run study sessions. To make the organisation establish sustainability it spent donated funds on a satellite to view football games. People  have to pay a small amount to watch the game (which is above some Eco toilets...and has a good view of Kibera!) and the money is then pumped into the after school/weekend education facility. I was shown the new fridge that the organisation got from Cocacola to sell sodas at games to raise funds. Sounds simple, it is in theory, and it is massively successful.

I got to meet  Steven, the first pupil that has used the facility and was supported by the organisation and is now starting University on Monday, studying Education. 

The next step or the club is to expand their facility (as there are often days with over 200 children in the tin hut) and build an ICT suite – again which would be self sustainable.

It was great to see the project working and to think about future activities and how I can become more involved with the project. We are going to make play dough to take for the session.


Visit the website and show your support; it is a fantastic organisation!


  1. Oh God, I've just watched one of the Rich, Famous and in the slum videos. A week would be hard, but I do not think I could live there like forever, I would fight with anger, become a thief or a revolutionary or both, or whatever else. And specially so if you can watch in television all the greed and luxury of "civilized" countries.

  2. Pet-glad you watched the clips-aren't they brave? Not easy at all to live there, I am sure. visitng when it is day time is a whole other matter - but to walk around and navigate in the have to deal with the rains... not easy.

  3. Hey Robyn, found your blog through A home away from home! Very brave life you lead, can't wait to read more.

  4. Throwing money at the problem reminds me of the public schools in Washington DC - some of the most heavily funded and yet some of the worst. Looks like an unforgettable experience - I did something similar in Nicaragua :) I love the last photo of the little girl - she is precious, such a bright light!

    Thank you for joining Post Of The Month Club :) Have a great weekend XOLaura


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