Residents of Sarang’ombe Ward in Kibra constituency Nairobi County with support from I Choose Life – Africa (ICL) have launched a campaign aimed at raising Sh50 million to provide water and sanitation for the locals. The crowded slum is presently struggling with water and hygiene issues, a situation that has pushed many to use the famous ‘flying toilets’ – relieving oneself in a plastic bag before throwing it away. The online campaign, dabbed #Majimtaani, seeks to raise funds for the construction of 20 Community Service Centers (CSC) to provide 54, 000 residents with treated drinking water, hot showers and toilets. With so far one CSC nearing completion, the residents are optimistic that the venture will relieve them from decades of struggle with water-related illnesses.
In October, the Ward launched its first-ever three year strategic plan that focuses on six sectors including, water and sanitation, education, access to finance, livelihoods, technology and health. The CEO of ICL Mike Mutungi said the campaign responds to the strategic plan and is aimed at boosting standards of living in the region. “It is saddening to see many Kenyans still have no access to basic water and sanitation nearly fifty years after independence. As an organisation, we believe that economic growth can only be realised when people are healthy,” argued Eng. Mutungi. Adding that: “As the country strives to attain Vision 2030, ICL too has a critical role to play and one way is to reach out to resource-challenged communities with basic services needed.” Despite Kibra being a path way to major city’s water supply, due to uncontrolled construction the region the country’s largest informal settlement has lagged behind in access to water. Each CSC is projected to generate a revenue of Sh40, 000 per month.
The Chairman of Kibra Development Committee John Millar said the project is a big boost for the locals and will go a long way in improving quality of lives. “We have been suffering for a long time. Currently, only a few plots have access to piped water. This forces many to rely on common water points which sometimes sells the commodity at staggering rate of between Sh10 and Sh20 per 20 liters,” he said. ICL’s Programme Manager Kevin Kadiri said once the water and sanitation segment is completed, the organisation will embark on mobilising additional funds for the other remaining sectors. “Eventually the goal is to enable the region to gradually attain 10 per cent economic growth,” he said. In an effort to reduce water wastage, the project plans to digitise its services through introduction of water ATMs in partnership with Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company. Other partners supporting the initiative includes, Nairobi Chapel, Centre for Economic Governance (CEG) and Nairobi County Government.