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February 2015

Ghetto Mirror
Real life stories from slums


Highway project
opens up Kibera

Ghetto Mirror

Lindi village is slowly growing

into a town centre as the on
going construction of a major
road from Makina to Silanga
continues... >> Story on page 3

Collective responsibility:
paving way for drainage
Over 100 families are and
will be displaced to pave way
for the drainage channels to
The displacement was temporary as residenst will be able
to reconstruct after the construction of the drainage is over.
The drainage channels wont
disposse in streams to ensure
they are clean.
By: Brian Okinda
An affected resident picking
himself up to perhaps begin
over after the demolition

Photo: Brian Okinda

Are you a school



the free SHOFCO

The National Government has moved to preserve and conserve not only the polluted Ngong River but the environment as
well by initiating construction of drainage vents along the river.
The construction is currently underway and with
a good number of casuals providing the much needed labour, the project is expected to move swiftly.

continue on page 6

Intake in progress
Adult Literacy Program Call: 0724 146 046

Ghetto Mirror | 2



Working towards
vision 2030

Yes hundreds might have been displaced but without any doubt the developments that have taken place in
Kibera under the current government cant be refuted.
For a long time the roads passing through Kibera were impassable, there were very few washrooms and toilets for the residents, medical facilities were not adequate. Non Government Organisations offered medication for locals but it was never enough.
But with the construction of two mobile clinics as proposed by the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, medical care is expected to be a bit higher than before.
Roads have been expanded to make Kibera accessible, vehicles
more so matatus have started operating in Kibera. Lindi Sacco; a travel company of matatus operating from Makina all the way to Silanga.
Employment opportunities have risen from the expansion of the Makina Silanga road and its feeder road that heads to
Laini Saba has seen a number of residents living along the road
and from within Kibera get employment as casual labourers.
National Youth Service NYS Officers who have been heading the expansion and most of the developmental projects currently
underway have also helped in carrying out community cleanups.
All the projects have made it possible for residents
to get employment; it is believed that over three thousands
youths have been employed as casual labourers by the NYS.
The residents employed by the NYS officer have not only gotten
a way of making a living but are also being trained on basic life skills
as well as saving their money through NYS Saccos a program that has
been welcomed by most of the residents who at first were against it.
It is high time as a nation we had put aside our political differences and started working together for the betterment of our nation. if we have to achieve the nation dream of developing by 2030.

Quote of the Month

Knowledge speaks,
wisdom listens.
Jimi Hendrix
A publication of Shining Hope For
Graphic design
Owino Paul


Dennis Mwanzia & Silvester Oluoch


Bernard Ochieng, David Otieno,

Vincet Oreje, Johnston Musua,
Erick Ouma, Halima Rajab & Biran Okinda.

Technical Assistance

Albanous Gituru, Lily Bullitt, Emily Akoth

We welcome letters on topical issues or the stories we publish and

comments on
You can also drop them in our offices at Gatwekera near PAG church.

Slum upgrading underway

Johnston Mutua } Residents risking electrocution

o many people in Kenya,

KPLC is synonymous to formerly of
Kenya Power & Lighting
Company, Kenyas only electricity distributing state corporation.
But to residents of
Kibera slum, the acronym has
a different meaning, Kibera
Power & Lighting Connections or simply Kibera Power.
While this sounds like
a creative idea through which
slum dwellers who do not have
access to power connections can
have light in their households at
a low cost, a potential danger
lurks behind those bare wires
crisscrossing iron roof tops.
Considering the worst case
scenario where heavy down pour
of rain is accompanied by strong
winds, with the power lines held
up by feeble sticks, the KPLC
idea can turn into a time bomb.
Illegally connected wires crisscross rusty roofs with low-hanging cables that have no proper
protective insulation is a common sight in slums across Kenya. This puts thousands of slum
residents and especially children
at risk. Where at least two cases
of children electrocuted to death
in Kiberas Gatwekera village
were witnessed in the recent past.
According to a Geoffrey
Marwa, a concerned resident of
Kibera who is an electrician, the
cables are charged with a lethal
240 volts of electricity, enough
to cause instant death or fatal
injury to an average adult person. Mr. Marwa also added that
When there is a heavy down

Join the

pour of rain, the ground becomes

soggy therefore and dangerous
for anyone touching live roof
or another exposed conductor.
The power lines are made
from connecting many pieces
(about one meter long) of the
loose ends of wires together with
the majority of the joints usually
left bare. As a result, the residents and children are exposed
to the danger of electrocution.
Residents attribute the illicit connections to frequent
slum fires that cause huge loses of property and lives. One
resident whose decline to identify himself told Ghetto Mirror that the umprotected wires
in contact with iron sheets
can cause a lot of damages.
The unprotected live
wires touch roof tops and iron
structures, turning them into
deadly electric conductors,
citing a recent inferno that
razed a large part of KiberasToi
market of late in the last year.
According to him, several other incidents of fire
have been reported, in one
case, some people were
feared to have lost their lives.
The Kenya government
halted its move to cut off illegal electricity connections in
the slums, pointing out that poor
households use minimal power
and that it would instead work
on formalizing the connections.
The CEO of Kenya Power
Mr. Ochumo, was once quoted
by the Star Newspaper in Kenya saying that Kenya Power
will create a robust metering program for slums to run
concurrently with the ambi-

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online audience for

comments or feedback

tious Sh10 billion governmentled street lighting initiatives.

Mr. Chumo told the press
that power consumption by
households in slums is mainly
for lighting and charging mobile
phones and loss is commercially
negligible due to low voltage.
In 2013, Kenya Power was
said to be undertaking a partnership with the World Bank in the
Global Partnership on Output
Based Aid to enhance electricity
supply to informal settlements
in Kenya. The CEO to press that
there are plans to formalize power connections within the slum
areas. He said that power consumption in the slums is minimal
to as low as one megawatt for
the biggest slum in the country.
The power supplier said it will
however concentrate significant
resources on seeking and prosecuting those involved in illegal
connections to large consumers,
who generate about 60 percent
loss of revenue. The persons
convicted are at risk of Sh1 million fines and one year in jail.
have forced youth into devising risky income-generating
undertakings. The youth risk
electrocution by vandalizing
transformers to provide illegal
electricity connections in the slums
for a fee in order to earn a living.
On a different note, thousands of slum dwellers have
waited for many years to be legally connected to the national
grid in vain. This has caused
many slum dwellers to resolve to
illegal connections. In an interview with a Kibera resident who
did not want to be mentioned,

Ghetto Mirror was told that residents pay between Sh400 and
Sh500 every month to use Kibera
Power. He felt that the money he
paid to the vendors was much
more than his consumption.
Kenya Power requires one
to pay ksh. 35000 as a connection fee for those within 600
meters from step down transformers. This amount is too high
for the slum resident. Even if
residents of the slum paid this
amount, legal connection would
not be possible since most of the
transformers are often more that
600m far into the posh residential areas surrounding the slums.
The Kenya governments
partnership with the World Bank
to undertake slum electrification program hopes to address
the safety concerns of the slum
residents by putting an end to
the illicit electricity connections.
The World Banks support
was to see Kenya Power connect
about 66,000 slum households to
the national grid at a subsidized
rate of Sh. 1,760 for domestic
use and Sh. 2,740 for commercial
use, down from the Ksh35,000
paid for regular connections.
Although the slum electrification project has been initiated
in Nairobis Kibera and Mukuru
slums as well as in Thika, Nakuru and Kisumu, the pace at
which connections are made is
too slow and residents and their
children continue to be exposed
to the risk of electrocution.
Many residents feel that training
of residents on electrical safety
is a priority as they await the
safer national grid connection.

Ghetto Mirror


one on one

Ghetto Mirror | 3

yellow b
By Halima Raja
Who is Yellow Bizzo

My real name is Idris Adam

Hussein. I am 18 years old
born in Mombasa but I have
been raised and I have studied
here Kibera. I am the last born
in a family of three a brother
and a sister.

How was your upbringing?

Music is all about

passion, determination and
patience, said Idris Adam
Hussein commonly known
as Yellow Bizzo or Yellow B
who for the past three years
has secured himself a place
in the Kenyan music
industry despite his age.
Ghetto Mirrors Halima
Rajab caught up with him at
his home in Makina.

Not that bad because I did not

lack basic needs. I was taken
to the best school in Kibera
Three Bells Primary School
and then I later joined Shiners
Secondary School I was given
everything I wanted.
Being a son of the Managing Director of Pamoja FM I
lacked nothing let alone my
parents and family support.
My mother is self employed
and my big brother is in a
university and my sister too,
though married is also studying in the university.

Tell us about your entry to


I am an urban music artist. I

ventured into music in 2012
while I was still in form three.
I always wanted to be an artist

and I had the passion for music so I decided to do music.

My family played a big role in
making me the musician I am
now my big brother Ramadhan
Adam Hussein ignited my
interests and encouraged me
to sing.
My dad heard my first song in
his studio; Pamoja FM but he
never knew I was the one until
he was told that the song was
from his son. He liked it and
ended up requesting for it and
always played in Pamoja FM
for a long time.
My mum and sister always believed in what I was doing and
I thank them all for the great
support they gave me.

Do you have an album yet

or any video?

All my songs are currently

singles and no video. I recently signed a two year contract
with Studio Kenya, in the next
two months I believe I would
have gotten the platform I
am badly looking for and the
market as well.
In the process I think I will
have my first album.

What is the worst experience you will never forget

in your life?

I had a show in 2012 just

as I started my career at the
Kibra Social Grounds in DC;
the guest of honour was the
former Nairobi mayor George
The mayor was impressed and
he had even promised to pay
my school fees until I would
finish college but there was
a lady who had heard of the
same and she had taken money
which was supposedly mine.
I hated my life at that point
and even wished the woman
had rotten in hell.

with two artists this year;

Nazizi and Wakimbizi and the
songs we will do will feature
in my album.

What can you tell young

artist like you?

That music is patience, passion

and determination. Money and
fame that every upcoming artists craves for comes later.
You should always know that
in music you will always be
stolen from and being used
as well. Given a chance use it
But remember that in show
especially when you are not
popular, it is costly

What are some of the challenges you have faced as an


Marketing. I dont have a platform despite having friends

from all over. I do shows but
it is not like everyone listens
to urban music; but this year I
believe I have a cool platform
given that I have a contract
with Studio Kenya.
I will also be releasing my first
video this year called Tusha

Who do you look forward

to working with?

I am planning to do a collabo

Highway project opens up Kibera

By: Halima Rajab
In bid to improve infrastructure the government through
the President has moved to improve the roads passing through
Kibera after the President had
announced to be in charge
of the expansion of the road.
The road linking Makina
ward and Silanga in Kibera
through Lindi has seen hundreds of residents being moved
or totally displaced to pave way
for the expansion of the road.
As a result of the expansion businesses have grown tremendously. Residents like Mary
Awuor a kiosk owner says she
used to make approximately
Sh.850 in a days sells but things
have recently changed. She now
makes at least Sh 1, 400 a day.
The area chief Nasur Mohammed pointed out that not
only will the road be expanded
but also sewerages will be built
as well as pipe water to resident.
Apart from the road
being expanded, sewers will
be constructed, broken water
pipes will be repaired for residents to get piped water at their
households, the chief said.
He also pointed out that

Earth mover digging up the Makina Silanga road that is currently under
expansion. The road that is also part of the slum upgrading project has
seen most business expand as it has openned up Kibera.


residents who had been missing water as a result of their

pipes being broken during the
expansion of the road will be
getting free clean water from
Clean Water Services; a company that transports clean water
in Kenya and has been doing so
since the road expansion begun.
According to the Cabinet Secretary for Devolution
and Planning Ann Waiguru
the government has been relying on locals and the National Youth Service for labour.
This is what we have been
talking about; economic empowerment for our youths, she said
The road expansion has
offered job opportunities for
many has been seen as having
increased cash flow.
Creation of new jobs
has increased cash flow in the
area there by increasing the
purchasing gpower of the slum
dwellers, Mrs. Waiguru said.
Over 5,000 youths have
been hired in various projects
as electricians, masons, carpenters, or plummbers, she added.
Our hope is to replicate what is happening here
to the other slums in Nairobi, Mrs. Waiguru said.
Residents also say that

with expansion of the road security has increased and they

can stay late in their businesses without fear of anything.
been put in place hence
Vegetable vendors and
second cloth sellers along
the road said that their security has improved and they
carry on with their business till late fearing nothing.
The road expansion too
apart from openning up the area
is said to have brought a lot of accidents with residents complaining that motorbike riders are very
reckless. They cause accidents
that they run away from with no
punishment from the authorities.
The chief acknowledging the accidents said he has received formal complaints from
residents and was working out
on the problem. He also urged
that the motorbikes to be registered with Saccos so that it
is easier to arrest perpetrators.
We will ensure all the
bike drivers are in Saccos, this
will make it easy to arrest those
who drive their bike recklessly
causing accidents, he said.
Most of them dont even have
driving licenses, he added.

Ghetto Mirror | 4


Pic Speak

This is a
full page of
photo stories.

In their creativity these children have come up

tires made of bottle straps to keep themselves
busy and have good times with playing.

Photo: Owino Paul

Children playing during break time in school

chase after a bicycle rim competing to get at it
Photo: File

Residents of Kayole making sandals made from old worn out tires. The
sandals commonly known as Akala; these are the most commonly used
sandals amongst both the old and youths and are loved for their

Photo: File

No turning back as this resident overloads a

car he is using to migrate his stuffs from his old
home to a new one.
Photo:Lily Bullitt

School going children drink water from a broken plastic pipe at Soweto West in Kibera.Most
residents do the same
Photo: Coutersy

There is no passage but customers are welcomed to Wamuhoros Cafe.

It is not clear though what Wamuhoros Cafe offers as the door is closed
warning everyone else of no passage but welcoming customers to the cafe
for anything they want seemingly.
Photo: Owino Paul

It should be everyones duty to love and defend

peace at all costs just as the massage was put
across by the artist of the art.

Let the sleeping dogs lie. As it seemed the dog

was very tired but couldnt sleep in its kennel
instead it decided to rest in a basin.
Photo: Owino Paul

my Hood


Ghetto Mirror | 5

In this column, the Ghetto Mirror brings you details about the various ghettos of Nairobi, one at a time. This month, we cover Mukuru Kayaba, one of the
three common Mukurus. If you want Ghetto Mirror to cover your hood, email us through
has a population of 1320 pupils.
Finally, St Catherines Primary School has a population of
about 100 school going children.
Mukuru used to be in the
headlines with a hotspot known
as Kambi Moto with a very notorious gang known as the Taliban.
The gang disappeared
after a dangerous exchange of
bullets with the police since
then there has been peace no
cases of violence and robbery reported like before.
The most prevalent businesses in Kayaba are the food
kiosks that serve construction
workers or casuals from the
factories sorrounding the slum.
(Madondo, Mothokoi and mlima)
Mlima are two big bones

By Halma Rajab
Mukuru Kayaba is one section of the larger Mukuru slum
that also includes, Mukuru Kwa
Njega and Mukuru Kwa Ruben.
It is surrounded by other
slums such as, Sinai, Kenya Wine,
Kisii Village, Viwandani, Pipeline, Fuata Nyayo, Commercial,
Maasai Village and Kambi Moto
(a notorious hotspot for crime).
Like all the other slums,
Kayaba suffers from a chronic
lack of basic services that create extremely poor, dangerous and hard living conditions.
One of the most dangerous yet pervasive examples of
this predicament is the lack of
formal or legally connected electricity. As a solution, people access electricity illegally by connecting thin electrical wires to
the formal wires that run across
roof tops to supply electricity.
As the connections are illegal, they tend to be haphazardly linked together, uncovered
and exposed to water. A lot of
people and structures have suffered from this situation, with
frequent occurrences of electrification and fire incidences.
Residents also face challenges in accessing water and
sanitation. Because there are
no job opportunities, a lot of
youth in the area have opted to
sell water to the communities.
This work is labor intensive as they have to pull carts that
usually have 12 water jericans
to wherever it may be needed.

A cross-section of Mukuru Kayaba bridge. Mukuru is believed to have

four public primary schools with a population of approximately 23,000
people most of who are women and children
Fortunately, Kayaba, unlike most other slums, is accessible by road since the paths going
through the slum are big enough
for a wide cart or a vehicle to
pass while allowing residents
to continue with their work.
Kayabas educational institutions offer some positive
elements to the slum by providing a few solid schools where
children can receive formal education and keep off the streets.
There are four public
schools that have different enrollment numbers, according

The approximate
population of
Mukuru Kayaba.
Most of the residents are women
and children

to a report released on September 18, 2013 by Access

Afya, an organization based in
the neighboring Kisii village.
The report states the names
of the schools and their approximation populations. Kayaba
Primary School, started in 1985
has a population of over 1,200
St. Bakhita Primary
School that has over 1000 pupils.
St. Elizabeth Primary School
in LungaLunga has been active for 15 years and is known
mostly for its performances in
national choir competitions and

served with soup to the buyer

where as mothokoi is an indeginiuos food made from
smashed irish potatoes with
maize and beans and madondo is
a mixture of chapati and beans.
Thses other than ugali
and sukumawiki are the
staple foods for residents.
Even those from a distance use them for lunch. The
food kiosks serves multitude
of the casual laborers around
Viwandani and several other
places come here for food.
To get to Kayaba from
the Central Business District
one boards a matatu operating on route no. 33 at Bus
Station commonly known as
BS or Railway Station or no.
34 from Muthurwa Market.

Marcus Garvey
Community Library

We are located next to

P.A.G Church in Gatwikira

Tell me...

1. If a person is called maembe then

what will be the name of a mango?
2. Why is google our only friend who
doestnt talk to us but answers every
question we ask?
3. Is Mzalendo Kibunjia the only
patriot in Kenya now that he is called
4. Has someone ever been consumed
by a burning question?
5. Does it hurt to hit the ground
6. Who keeps fit by running out of
7. Are there dogs called binadamu
now that some people are called

Ghetto Mirror | 6



Topical stories on
daily happenings
in our societies

Waste for Money improves Sanitation An association

By Erick Ouma

Providing approximately
150 million people with simple
sanitation facilities was the main
vision of a Swedish based organization that introduced an innovative solution for residents
known as Peepoo in 2006.
Peepoo is a mini- toilet in
which human waste is collected
in a bag made out minimum but
hygienic material that can be
knotted and buried. Peepoos
innovative technology separates
urine from feces in a single use
polythene bag that is biodegradable and odor-free. The most important element is its urea crystal
layer which decomposes the collected feces that are then used as
The bags are chemically
proven; they do not have any
biological effect on both plants

and the people using it. They

also have no contribution to the
depletion of the ozone layer,
said the director of Peepoo Kenya Mrs. Rehab Mbochi.
According to the director of the organization, Peepoo
is mainly working the most affected by this problems, schools
in the slum and the community
at large, to deal with sanitation
The project has served a
great number of schools that lack
facilities in the school compound
by providing them with kits and
peepoo bags at an affordable
price to enable access at any time
they may need them, Mrs. Mbochi said.
She added that this initiative has minimized environmental degradation as well as reduced the spread of water-borne
diseases like cholera, dysentery
and typhoid.
An estimated number of
25,000 of sanitizing bags are collected a week where 5,000 bags

get collected daily from both

the community and the private
schools that are using the service.
Bethel Childrens Centre
in Gatwekera in Kibera slum was
one of the first private schools to
use the peepoo bags and kits at
school which has so far curbed
what was once poor hygiene and
sanitation due to the schools
large population.
The sanitation project
has really helped us and this is
evident as we have an attendant
from Peepoo working with us
here in helping our small kids use
the kits once they want to ease
themselves, said the schools
director Mary Adinda.
The community dwellers
and the private schools using
Peepoo buy a roll at 50 shillings; one roll of the kit has 28
kits. However, Bethel Childrens
Centre gets their kits for free.
The organization provides
both the private school and the
community with training work-

shops held to ensure that at least

every household using their facilities knows how to use the kit
without an attendant.
To conserve our environment and keep it clean, there are
community health workers who
go around picking used bags and
distributing news kits to the designated households, Mrs. Mbochi said.
This is to make sure that
they bags are not thrown in
ditches or rivers but are always
dropped at Udungu grounds in
Lindi village, she added.
Individuals using the kits
can also choose to drop off the
bags on their own. Peepoos director says that an individual
who drops the bags in person is
compensated a shilling per used
The end product of fertilizer or manure sourced from
can be used in farms. Kirinyaga
County proved that it could be
used in the local farms around.

of slum leaders
for change
By Halima Rajab

Nairobi Slum Leaders

Asociation (NASLA) is a composition of leaders from Nairobi
with a mission of becoming a
socio-bio-economic and political
agency or government in decision of making and oversight
board in the informal settlements.
It was formed by 20
slums; currently the organisation has 60 members from
across the slums of Nairobi.
Our organisation was
started by 20 delegates from
different slums of Nairobi,
David Mukunda the Clerk of
NASLA started. Here we
only deal with slum dwellers, Mr. Mukunda added.
The organisation; NASLA,

is under the Citizen Against Violence (CAV) organisation and

was started immediately after the
2007/8 Post Election Violence.
NASLAs main objective
was preventing reoccurrence
of violence in the slums as stated by a member of the board.
Our objective was preventing another violence from
occurring and it was successfully achieved when all the informal settlements had shifted
its focus to youth empowerment and capacity building
of the youths, said David.
NASLA currently has three
in the National Assembly. Late
last year they were able to send
a representative to the Women
Summit in Germany as well as
being crowned the best assembly
during the African Youth Leadership Conference held in Dares-Salaam in Tanzania last year.

Residents pave way for drainage
vision for
from page 1

were responsible for the senseless displacement of thousands

decided to thwart their efforts
and ended up rioting only to be
stopped by the District Commissioner John Elungata who was in
the front line to clear their doubts.

To conserve the environment the vents running along

the river drains the newly constructed latrines, this is to ensure that the river is no longer a sewer like I used to be.

Not NYS project

Residents see the construction as a good development
to the area. Maurice Otieno a
resident of Kisumu Ndogo village has praised the move as he
stated that the river has for a
long time been a dumpsite while
still the pit-latrines and even the
bio-centers have been using the
river as a sewerage, which for a
long has been causing pollution.
According to Maurice the
drainage would reduce flying toilets and contraction of diseases
like cholera and any other water
borne diseases that children have
been contracting as a result of
playing near the river with the effluents no one knew from where.
Residents to be dispalced
To achieve the construction of the sewer line residents
living next to Ngong River and
its tributaries have been moved to
create room for the construction.
As a result most of Gatwikira
residents residing along the river
held peaceful demonstrations
at the chiefs office in Olympic.
Alice Auma a tenant and
one of the affected residents
claimed that she was really finding it hard to move as she hadnt
planned for that only to realize after being given a one day notice.
In a quick rejoinder

The DC Mr. Elungata

said that the drainage system
was not part of the NYS projects. He added that NYS got
involved in the confusion only
because the drainage was meant
for the numerous toilets the
NYS officers had constructed in several areas of Kibera.
Proprerty lost

Work continuing on the drainage channels

despite a number of residents being against the
Photo: Brian Okinda
Danvas Mogire claimed that
the residents had been issued
a three month warning to pave
way for the construction of
the sewer lines. He also added
that there were no excuses for
not being warned in advance.
Displacement is temporary
But asked whether the
displacement was unfair as the
affected ones are not able to
be compensated the contractor
said no one was being replaced
as the construction was carried

in the assumption that the area

would be left and the residents
will be free to choose to reconstruct their houses as before.
Construction of demolished house begun earlier in this
month with the residents whose
area was already done with.
There rose a conflict recently between residents and
NYS officers who have for the
past five months carried out a
number of projects for the community of those living in Kibera.
Residents who had been
thinking that the NYS official

An uncounted property was

lost during the riots as structure
owners like Jane Njeri Mwangi
cried foul of losing over 30 iron
sheets after she had ordered for
the demolition of her houses to
pave way for the drainage when
the rioters arrived with stones,
sticks and pangas and threatened everyone around them.
Confirming the DCs
word was an NYS Officer who
only identified himself as Mike.
These people are contradicting themselves by thinking
that we are involved in the drainage projects, we are not, Mike
said. He also added that the only
projects the NYS is involved with
here in Kibera are the construction of the road from Makina to
Silanga, construction of community washrooms and carrying out
community clean-ups to ensure
the villages of Kibera are clean.
The sewer line construction is expected to finish in one month time

By Vincent Oreje
Since 2013, President Uhuru Kenyatta has made numerous appearances in Kibera to open projects that will improve the living standards of residents.
After immediately landing in Nairobi from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia late last year where he was negotiating a peace deal for South Sudan, President Uhuru made an unannounced visit to Kibera to check
up on a number of projects he had initiated through the Ministry of
Devolution and Planning.
The projects include daily community clean-ups, construction
of washrooms, and construction of roads all done by local residents
throughout the villages of Kibera under the supervision of the National Youth Service (NYS).
During his visit, the President was clearly affected by Kiberas
filthy state and made a promise to change the face of the slum.
We want to improve Kibera slum which has been neglected
for a long time. The residents also have a right to better services, the
President said.
The President had previously initiated the ongoing construction
of a main road from Makina to Silanga known as the Makina Lindi
road, a minor road in Nairobi which will go along with the LindiMakina Sacco and should create employment to the youth. Additionally, light fixtures added to this road has reduced incidents of crime
and encouraged small scale businesses to operate late into the night.
The lighting fixtures are part of the realization of Uhurus
pledge to help Akons (R&B/Hip Hop singer) Lighting Africa project
whose mission is to power Africas slums and rural areas.
The presence of new Police Posts closer to the slum has made it
easier for residents to report cases of insecurity or suspicion, therefore
boosting the security features of Kibera.
Two mobile clinics that were proposed by the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta have also been constructed, one along Karanja road
and another in Olympic Estate; the two clinics are to aid women giving birth and to offer medical care for the residents.
The President is also planning on rolling out a project that will
bring free WI-FI to the slum as part of the ongoing digital migration
in Kenya.
President Uhuru also visited a number of youth groups, and donated a poshomill to one of the groups is the Mizuka Youth Reform
Group in Makina, to help with their income-generating activities.
The Presidents initiatives in the slum have already improved
living conditions and have given hope to Kiberas residents about the
future that these changes will bring.



Ghetto Mirror | 7

Sickle Cell Disease

has no cure but is

Sickle Cell Disease an ignored worldwide threat

Photo: Google images

Facts about SDC:

>> It is inherited
>> patients have
repeated and unpredictable pain
episodes, chronic
pain, chronic anemia and easy fatigue
>> has no consistently effective or
widely acceptable

By Vincent Oreje

(SCD) is a serious group of
conditions, which are genetic
(inherited). It affects the red

blood cells in the blood and is

common world-wide but is always diagnosed as Malaria.
Lea Kilenga Masamo, 26
leads an organization; The 10003
Warrior Project, acting as the
helping hand to the sickle cell
disease victims living in Kenya.
The victims are always perceived to have a short life span.
The organisation she says

was formed to help people with

SCD as she too is a victim.
I am a sickle cell victim and I started this project
because many Kenyans suffer from this disease, Miss
Kilenga started her narration.
Talking highly of the victims of sickle cell anaemia Miss
Kilenga referred to them as warriors and went ahead explain-

ing her organisations name;

The 10003 Warrior Project.
A warrior is a person
who engages aggressively with
vigour and courage in battle.
All sickle cell patients are warriors as they are likened to a warrior in a battle field, Lea said.
Three of my family members have been suffering from this disease and I lost
one of sisters to SCD, but we
are working towards ensuring
no warrior succumbs to sickle
cell anaemia, defining the organisations meaning Lea said.
10003 in simple terms
stands for; 1 stands for Leas
sister who succumbed to SCD,
the three zeros (000) represents the number of warriors
in Kenya who would die as a
result of Sickle Cell Anaemia
and three for her family members who have the disease.
A SCD victim needs information and resources to
help them live long with the
disease, the vice versa exposing them to an early death as
it is assumed the average life
expectancy of a person with
the disease is about 47 years.
The need to inform and
educate people about the disease has for long time been
the only reasons Lea runs
The 10003 Warrior Project.
The disease is manageable and if people have the

right knowledge and information they will be able to live

long and healthy lives, Lea
said. Using her life experiences she empowers and teaches
victims who have lost hope.
26 year old Lea believes
that under intensive medical care
a SCD patient can lead good
life with no problem as she has
been doing in the past two years.
I have been under
medication for the last two
years and there is no time I
ever felt anything, said Lea.
According to Humphrey
Ombech a medical officer at
the Johanna Justin Jinich Clinic
SCD symptoms start showing
from as early as three months.
He added that children with SCD
are at a very high risk of contracting life threatening infections.
SCD symptoms usually
noticed for the first time when
the patient is between three to six
months, at this age the child has
a different haemoglobin called
fatal haemoglobin. The haemoglobin is not affected by Sickle
Cell gene, said Mr. Ombech.
Children with SCD have
a high risk of getting severe or
life-threatening infections. It is
always important to see a doctor immediately, he added.
Severe anaemia in children is caused by enlargement of spleen. The enlarged
spleen can always be felt under

the abdomen of the children.

quickly and causes sudden severe anaemia. The enlarged
spleen is in the abdomen and
can be felt, parents should be
shown how feel their childrens
spleen, if enlarges quickly then
it should be considered as a
sign, added the medical officer.
Sickle Cell Disease is
inherited and untreatable but
under good medication, and
care the victims can live longer like any other person
not affected by this disease.
People with SCD are
more prone to severe infections, particularly from certain
types of bacteria, which can
cause pneumonia, meningitis,
septicaemia or bone infections.
Feeling tired, fainting,
short of breath, dizziness, nausea (feeling sick) or having fast
breathing - worse with physical activity, babies and small
children may be not feeding
much or generally unwell and
a pale skin colour (easiest to
see in the lips, tongue, fingernails or eyelids) are the observable symptoms of SCD.
Miss Kilenga holds workshops and meetings with the
victims of SCD country wide
and on social media sensitizing victims of how far they
can go even with this disease.

Emergence of mabati storey buildings

By Brian Okinda

Domes Pub one of the recently constructed mabati storey buildings in Gatwikira

Photo: Owino Paul

In response to the rising

demand for houses due to inadequate land space and population
pressure, housing investors in informal settlements have adapted
to a new method of constructing
storey (gorofa) buildings using
timber and iron sheets (mabati).
According to the chief of
Silanga in Kibera, the houses,
which are to be approved by the
National Construction Authority,
have been increasing in the slums
in order to curb the rising population increase. The chief also said
that Laini Saba village in Kibera
is utilizing this method the most.
Rooney Otieno, a Laini
Saba landlord said, I personally
invested in this business upon re-

alizing that the demand for houses went up drastically and most
of our residents are young youth
who are middle salary earners
and couldnt afford to move to
more developed estates like Kayole. Other advantages to these
houses include cheaper rent and
spaciousness. The rent varies
between Ksh.1200 to a maximum of Ksh.3500 per month
Most of the tenants of
these houses are indeed very
grateful for their residential
houses. Tenants of Westgate
plot in Gatwekera, Kibera say
that ghetto life is simple and
the state of economy suits them.
Rooney also argued that
increased infrastructure within
the slum area currently being done by the National Youth
Service (NYS) has also contributed to the increased housing

demand causing renovation of

older buildings and the increased
construction of new structures.
Additionally, work done
by the Slum Upgrading Project
under the Ministry of Housing
has contributed a lot of positive
initiatives aimed at improving
the lives of people living and
working in informal settlements
within urban areas in Kenya. The
project which is a collaborative
programme between the government, UN Habitat and other
development partners has already started in Kibera, Nairobi
and will also cover Kisumu and
Mombasa before being rolled out
to other urban areas countrywide.
Despite the positive effects
of these constructions as stated
by landlords and households, a
group of tenants from Mukuru,
Kayaba describes them as risky

and unreliable. Peter Mbuli, one

of the residents condemned the
method utilized by the constructors who use timber to renovate
unstable older buildings into the
first floor of a new storey building. He said that the result was
that the buildings were not firm
enough to bear the weight of the
households above thus creating a huge risk. The houses are
not constructed firmly enough
and they are also prone to fire
outbreaks due to poor power
supply and the timber used
is prone to fire said Mbuli.
The worried tenants have
asked the government to conduct proper supervision to the
construction and ensure their
safety based on the standards
laid down by the housing policy.

Mp rolls out technical skills program

for youths in Kibra Constituency
By Owino Paul
35 residents from across
all the wards of Kibra Constituency were awarded driving certificates and licenses
after completing a two months
driving program at Rocky
Driving School in January.
The 35 graduates were
amongst 50 people who had been
sponsored by the area Member
of Parliament, Hon. Kenneth
Okoth through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

In addition to driving,
the MP also intends to roll out
other sponsorship programs to
help Kibera youth gain short
term technical skills like hair
dressing, masonry, plumbing
and carpentry among others.
We enrolled 50 people but we are planning to do
250 by the end of this year,
Hon. Kenneth Okoth said.
The MP also said that the
recruitment process was not formal as some of the participants
applied through word of mouth
an others were recommended

by their respective communities

through churches, local leaders and groups, among others.
Hon. Okoth added that
there is no guarantee that the
graduates will get employed but
there is a high demand for people with technical skills. He emphasized that often times, these
type of skills may fare better for
Kibera youth as they are more
useful than a university degree.

Ghetto Mirror | 8


Karate counters sexual assaults

With the heightened insecurity orgnisations have sprung up to offer self-defence program for locals
tacker who is twice her age if
well executed, Juma added.
Karate training in Mukuru
Kwa Njega, one of Nairobis
largest and most dangerous informal settlementin Nairobi,
presents an innovative solution of self-defense for vulnerable sections of the population
such as teens and grandmothers.
Unsafe for women

SHOFCO Karate club during their training at the Kibera School for Girls
Photo:Johnston Mutua

By Johnson Mutua
With shockingly increasing assaults and rape cases occurring in informal settlements
of Nairobi where as many as
one in four adolescent girls
are raped each year, short selfdefense courses on karate are
serving as a silver bullet in dramatically reducing the victims
vulnerability to the assault.
This is according to a
study done by the Stanford

University School of Medicine, Lucile Packard Childrens Hospital and an NGO

called No Means No Worldwide working slums in Kenya.
In this study, No Means
No Worldwide established a program in which they taught 402
girls self-defense techniques.
Ten months after the self-defense training, over half of the
girls reported to have used the
skills they learned to repel attackers in one way or another.
The results showed that the numbers of those raped went down
from 24.6 percent in the year

before training to 9.2 percent

in the 10-month period after.
Just a sport
Karate is a disciplined sport where trainers are
equipped with weapons of their
own body only to be used as a
last result when their life and
safety is threatened, added
Mr. Juma, a black belt holder
and a trainer of underage karatekas on SHOFCO Kenpo Club.
From the experience I have,
the techniques we teach even a
small girl could counter an at-

Senators plans for the city

By Kevin Ochieng
Flamboyant Nairobi senator Mike Mbuvi Sonko recently
pledged on his Face book page
that 2015 he is going to focus
more on service delivery to
residents of Nairobi County.
True to his words the
Senator started by acquiring some vehicles that would
be used on various activities
this is in bid to relieve residents off some of their burden.
The Senator too has
bought smaller fire engines that
will be used to put of fire during fire out breaks that have in
the recent past been common.
The fire engines penetrate areas with smaller paths that normal fire engines cant access.
It has been known that
lots properties have been de-


stroyed without any being salvaged because the normal fire

engines could not reach the areas due to their enormous size.
Free ambulances branded
Sonko Rescue Team are also
available and will be operating
for 24 hours . The ambulances
are to help residents with urgent
need for medical attention get access to the medication they need.
Free hearse services for
residents to transport their loved
ones up country in case of death.
The current financial constraints
have seen a number of people
use orthodox means of transporting the dead up country.
The Senator also has
plans of ensuring that there
is no more shortage of water
for the residents as well as has
plans for garbage collection as
he is planning to unveil trucks
for the collection. This is to ensure the cleanliness of the city.
Those gifted to own cars

have not been left behind as

there are free towing vehicles.
The Senator who also owns a
fleet of matatus that ply various city routes has noted that
lives continue to be lost due to
drunk driving and has come to
the rescue by availing the free
towing vehicles that will tow
your car/ vehicle to your favourite fuel station or to your home.
For those planning to
wed this year and planning to
marry there will be free for
hire limousines, a cool Mercedes Benz S class, and the
in famous gold plated car that
caused a stir at a funeral home.
On matters security the
Senator; has acquired the elegant
and powerful Land Rover Discovery cars that the police will
use to patrol the city and its estates. He also pledged to work
closely with both the National and
County Government to ensure
that the city is safe for residents.

A report released by Amnesty International in 2010

states that, Violence against
women is endemic in Nairobis informal settlements but
it goes widely unpunished.
In fact, it is so unsafe for
women to go to the pit latrines at
night that they are often forced
to use flying toiletsplastic bags which are hurled out
the window once they are used.
While many organizations and individuals training
slum dwellers in self-defense
tend to focus on teenage girls,
they are increasingly including teen age boys as well.


The total
number of girls
who attended a

Most of the young

people here survive by scavenging what they can from
the giant rubbish heaps in
Even venturing into one
of the main streets in broad
daylight to queue at a water point is a calculated risk.
A study done by Society
for Adolescent Health and Medicine (a U.S based organization
working in Kenya) claims that,
a standardized 6-week selfdefense program is effective in
reducing the incidence of sexual
assault in slum-dwelling high
school girls in Nairobi, Kenya.
taught these young people, especially girls, to stand up and fight
their assailants with confidence,
and overpower their assailants
however strong the attackers
are, said Erick Okoth a Karate Trainer at SHOFCO Kenpo
Karate Club in Kibera slum.
Sources reveal that, just
over two years, 12,000 girls
have been taught the self defense program and a recently
released study in the Journal of
Adolescent Health showed that
the program resulted in an astounding 63 percent reduction
in the incidence of rape for girls
compared to a control group
from 24.6 percent to 9.2 percent.
The Trainings
In most karate training
centers one would find rows
of young girls trying one technique on one another, sometimes replacing an eye jab with
a pretend assault on one of the
other three vulnerable points: the
throat, the groin, and the knees.
The trainers teach strate-

gies for fending off multiple attackers based on some simple

principles; Two: Fight one person at a time. One: Fight dirty
where no rules are followed.
The blows lack force,
but according to the womens
teacher Ongeri, thats not crucial. You dont need to hit hard
to be accurate, says Ongeri,
one of the trainees whois15
years old. Accuracy is the
key to the technique.She goes
ahead to demonstrate the vulnerable points on a young man
acting as guinea pig for the
class: the nose, chin, collarbone, and of course the genitals.
Fighting bandits
In Korogocho, several
self-defense groups began in
2007 as way of fighting back at
the young bandits of Korogocho who took to raping women
three or four times their age.
Every time the bandits make a robbery, they will
ask the grandmas to sleep with
them, explains Ms. Mercy
(72), who was one of the oldest pupils and is now a teacher.
The men believe that young
girls are all infected with AIDS,
so they would rather go to the
old ones because they know we
dont have any more partners.
The undisputed star of this
particular group is Ms. Kerubo
who thinks she must be 90 years,
a possibility that seems surprising when you see her hit the
punchbags with measured, confident blows.If a man with evil
intent comes close, I will hit
him and he will have back off,
she says, smiling confidently.

Defilement rate on the increase

By Celin Metrin
Rampant sexual exploitation of minors comes as a shock
as increased cases of child defilement are received every day
with many of them going unreported in Kibera slum informed
a SHOFCO gender case worker.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines defilement as
the act of violating or corrupting ones sexual purity or perfection. The Sexual offenses
act 2003 defines defilement
as consensual and non-consensual sexual involvement
with a minor towards children.
The Children Act of 2007
declares that every child has the
right to be protected from abuse,
neglect, harmful cultural practices, and allforms of violence,
inhumane treatment and punishment and hazardous or exploitation labor. However, despite
the enactment of the sexual offenceslegislation, and the children acts, defilement of children

and minors has become rampant

in Kenyan slum areas with the
children on the receiving end.
Young children tend to
be targeted because they cant
protect themselves from the
hands of the perpetrators. The
children become easy targets
as they are easy to manipulate.
According to social workers and health personnel, the
main causes of defilement are:
negligence from parents, social media, and magazines and
to some extent, the dress code.
Parents defile their children by
engaging them in pornography.
According to the SHOFCO
gender development department, at least two defilement
cases are received every week.
A social worker at SHOFCO told Ghetto Mirror that in
Nairobi there are about 10 health
centers and organizations offering sexual and gender-based
recovery services including
the Nairobi WomensHospital,
the KNH SHOFCO clinic, the
Gender Department and MSF.

Some of the facilities also give

free consultations to parents
and to the defiled children.
Take the children to the
nearest health facility for medical checkups, tests, andcounseling. Once the cases are reported,
a file is opened as the defiled
child is taken to a hospital then
to the police station, then to a
government doctor before finally
being taken to a court of law.
Make sure you get a p3
form to be filled alongside a PRC
form (Post Rape Care) which
is issued by government doctors to indicate the severity of
the defilement. These forms are
usually given to the police. Report to police and make sure you
are referred to childrens court.
encouraged to immediately report
cases to law enforcers. For effective protection of young
girls from sexual exploitation,
county administration, civil
society and the media should
join hands in the war against
sexual exploitation of minors.

The Ghetto Mirror is a monthly publication published and distributed for free by Shining Hope for Communities as
part of its programs aimed at empowering the youth through developing their media skills and also to bring attention to the
issues affecting the residents of the informal settlements. All the work that goes into production of this newspaper is done by youths
from the slums. Correspondence should be addressed to You can also visit our
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