Tag Archives: Nairobi

Using technology to map Nairobi slums for more toilets, less trash

Q+A – Using technology to map Nairobi slums for more toilets, less trash | Source: Katy Migiro, Reuters, Nov 28, 2013 |

NAIROBI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Nearly seven out of 10 residents of Nairobi’s slums use shared toilets or pit latrines – while 6 percent have no toilets at all. Yet even if they wanted a toilet, getting one hooked up to the municipal system can involve insurmountable bureaucracy and corruption.

Meanwhile, their trash may be getting picked up by youth groups, but only to be dumped in the river or on the road – rather than picked up by city council trucks.

In an undated photo, Thuo Wanjiku, a data collector with Spatial Collective, collects mapping data via mobile phone in Nairobi's Mathare slum. Photo by Rick Roxburgh/Spatial Collective

In an undated photo, Thuo Wanjiku, a data collector with Spatial Collective, collects mapping data via mobile phone in Nairobi’s Mathare slum. Photo by Rick Roxburgh/Spatial Collective

Now, the Spatial Collective social enterprise is hoping to fix that by using technologies to map out the slums, providing the information and connecting the right players in hope of bringing in more toilets and disposing of the rubbish… and the crime.

Jamie Lundine, managing director of Spatial Collective, spoke to Thomson Reuters Foundation in Nairobi at the 2013 International Conference of Crisis Mappers, which she helped organise.

Q: How are new mapping technologies changing the aid world?

A: I think new technologies are allowing information that may previously have gone undocumented to be amplified and then shared… so that actual players on the ground, hopefully, have a greater say in how aid money is spent.

To be able to create a platform and share information gives global recognition to local problems – and local solutions. Somebody else knows where they are and is listening to their story.

Collecting 300, 400, 500 [criminal] incidents allows you to reveal trends and then share that with decision makers. Visualising them and showing this is a hot spot area, for example, might move somebody.

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Kenya: Human waste woes in slums

Kenya: Human waste woes in slums

NAIROBI/KISUMU, 27 December 2012 (IRIN) – The odour of human waste is unbearable at the pit latrine behind Nancy Anyango’s house in Manyatta, a sprawling slum in the western Kenya city of Kisumu. Nearby, a heap of rotting garbage lies between long rows of shacks. From a distance, one can hear the flies buzzing.

Photo: Dara Lipton/The Advocacy Project - A stream in the Kibera slum is used as a dump site for trash and human waste

Photo: Dara Lipton/The Advocacy Project -
A stream in the Kibera slum is used as a dump site for trash and human waste

The open pits exacerbate the threat of disease. They are also a physical risk for children. Only a couple of months ago, Anyango lost her three-year-old son when he fell into one of them while playing with other kids.

“The waste produces a pungent smell, and when it rains, it floods our houses, and we are forced to move out. The lives of our children, too, are in danger because they play inside the filth,” Anyango told IRIN.

Risks to residents

Local government authorities put the slum’s population at 45,000, but they are served by no more than 30 pit latrines. And because people are charged a fee to use the latrines, many opt defecate in the open instead.

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Nairobi’s Garbage Dump Pits Pickers Against Neighbors

Source: David Conrad – Pulitzer Center Blog – May 14, 2012

Weighted with two heavy sacks of discarded milk bags and meat bones slung across her back, a plastic bag of rotted cabbage in her hand, Rahab Ruguru walks through a smoky landscape of mountainous piles of burning waste, scavenging for a living.

“Working here is how I am able to feed my children,” says the 42-year-old mother of six, stooping to pocket a handful of discarded candy from the ground. “Of course it is not a usual job. Dodging pigs [and] used condoms, eating what I find. No, it’s not good for me. But it is a job and I have to persevere.”

Rahab Ruguru, 42, a mother of six children—between the ages of four and 17—moved to a small home directly bordering Dandora after the country’s 2007 post-election violence forced her family from their Eldoret farm near the western border of Kenya. Image by Micah Albert. Kenya, 2012.

Ms. Ruguru is one of an estimated 6,000 people who come daily to mine the Dandora city dump, a sprawling 12-hectare wasteland about 15 kilometres from Nairobi’s thriving central business district. They sort and place into large sacks waste that can either be eaten or sold to recycling companies – mostly metals, rubber, glass, milk bags, plastics, meat bones and electronics. Nobody earns more than $2.50 (U.S.) a day.

Nearly one million people live in the slums that surround the dump, the only one serving the Kenyan capital. While the Dandora garbage dump provides a source of income for some – Ms. Ruguru, for instance, says her scavenged items bring her money for her children’s food, school fees, books and uniforms – it is at the centre of a political controversy.

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Informal Sanitation Entrepreneurs in Nairobi – 2nd Place Award in Sanitation Video Contest

Kenya – Strategic guidelines for improving water and sanitation services in Nairobi’s informal settlements

Strategic guidelines for improving water and sanitation services in Nairobi’s informal settlements. Water and Sanitation Program, 2009. (pdf, full-text)

Here the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) introduces the work achieved by the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company (NCWSC) and the Athi Water Services Board (AWSB) and their guidelines for water supply and sanitation interventions in informal settlements.

The document starts with an overview of the situation of Nairobi and its informal settlements. Then, technical options for water supply, sanitation, drainage as well as the development of technical capacity and appropriate standards are suggested, along with financial and management options. Finally guiding principles are presented. These include for instance: social, economic and financial principles, institutional and management arrangements, and working with stakeholders.

Kenya – UNEP joins Nairobi River clean-up campaign

June 18, 2008: The Nairobi Metropolitan Development ministry has entered into a technical arrangement with Unep to bring rapid results in green initiatives. The two immediate projects on their agenda are cleaning up of the Nairobi River and solid waste management.

Previous attempts to tackle the twin problems suffered from private sector apathy and lack of political will. “I feel this time it will work because of the political commitment which was not previously there,” said Achim Steiner, the Unep executive director.

The new ministry needs up to Sh4 billion to clean-up the 200km stretch covered by the three rivers passing through the capital city.

It also faces the challenge of coming up with innovative ways to manage solid waste which is an eyesore with only one dumping site in Dandora , on the outskirts of the city.

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