Mathare is still there after the New Year

It’s been three weeks since the New Year when everybody in Kenya (at least who can afford) travels to shambaland. We’ve been doing trainings for the past two weeks – altogether 6 days of mapping and 2 days of video.

The map needed (and still does) more information in order to become a good base map for further thematic mapping which will eventually fill in the remaining empty spots (remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day and the map won’t be either – it’ll take 4 months). Here’s the map by the way.

Our main goal is not the map itself! It’s the empowered youths and community members equipped with knowledge and data about their community. As Simon said for Al Jazeera: ”By knowing what we have we will be in a position to engage our government!” So, in order to better control and supervise the masses of the would-be mappers and reporters from Mathare and our trainers-trainees from Kibera, we divided Mathare into 3 parts. West is villages 1, 2, 3A, 3B, Kosovo and 4B, Central is Mathare No 10, 3C, Thayu, Mabatini, Mashimoni and Mathare 4A, and East is Huruma with all sub entities, New Mathare, Kiamaiko and Mathare North. Yea, it’s a big place!


The next thing we did was listen to the ever-present, ever-wise voice of the community – Simon Kokoyo (who, in order to amplify the community’s voices, started a blog which is written by Mathare residents called – who said we should rotate or move our venues all over Mathare in order to get the community’s support and make it easier for people to walk to the trainings.

Community Members

The second week of trainings we held mapping trainings at Mathare Environmental Conservation Youth Group/Staken at Mlango Kubwa in village 1 which is run by another well known and respected community member Kaka and at Community Transformers. Video trainings were held one day at Community Transformers and one day out in the field.


To help plan the video trainings we invited two established people, both well known in Mathare: Videographer Nathaniel Canuel and a reporter Wairimu Gitau. They’ve structured the trainings in a way to maximize the effect and tell the stories relevant to Mathare. They’ve divided members into 4 teams and talked about the ideas for the videos to be made. They’ve selected 4 ideas which could be done in a day of shooting and they’ve come up with:
– Lack of toilets
– Road accidents or bad road conditions
– Lack of playgrounds for children
– Broken sewage lines
Next week (24. Jan – 30.Jan) they will talk about which footage was good and which was bad and the folks will learn how to edit the data selected. Can’t wait!

Nathaniel taking a nap exhausted after the whole day of video footage collection

Our third program Voice of Mathare is still under construction (web stuff).

Exciting times in Mathare! There’ll be a storm of activity in Kibera soon, so stay tuned!

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