International
Federation for
Housing and
Planning

IFHP PROJECT ON GOODWINGS.COM - Slumfighters International

Transforming haunted halls into a community center in slum in Kenya.
Riddled along the Mathare River in the Mathare Valley, a rough estimate of 500.000 people live and work in precarious circumstances; literally in overcrowded shacks in the mud. The old 1970s Mathare Polytechnic complex strongly contrasts the surrounding slum; like an oasis situated in the middle of the inhospitable Mathare Valley. Here, the Undugu Society Kenya uses part of the complex for a primary and secondary school. The green grass and trees, spacious rooms and complex layout provide a very welcome relief from the surrounding huts and precarious buildings along cramped alleyways.
 
Unfortunately, the larger part of the complex is in a derelict, or at least ‘questionable’, state. Currently, haunted halls that could be used for conferences, gatherings or expositions are only catching dust. In most slums, these larger spaces are usually scarce, so this project aims to reincarnate these spaces and thereby provide room for initiatives and ideas to make the slum a better place to live. By creating a community center and community activities at the school, a spiral of local engagement and empowerment can be created. When local people are involved they feel more responsible for their own neighborhood.
In this project, Slumfighters International works with the local Undugu Society Kenya, Kenyan law firm KnownAfrique and MLAHRA, a human rights organization from Mathare. Together they engage with people and empower them to make the living conditions in the slums better. The inhabitants have been involved from the earliest and most influential stage: the setting of the agenda. In a series of workshops during the 2016 Nairobi Design Week the people in the community have defined and prioritized the need for spaces where they can meet in larger groups to organize meetings, conferences and exhibitions.
 
The motto for the Mathare Oasis project is ‘Refresh, Recharge, Re-orient’, signaling that an upgrade of the school to a community center can give the people participating in the activities new energy and actually start a process of developing the slum into a more livable space with more than one oasis. Youth and adults alike can come to Mathare Oasis to get a physical, emotional, spiritual and mental boost. All thanks to the fresh air and spacious grounds, educational programs and coaching, networking and building relationships, but most of all: newly gained hope.
 
IFHP shares the vision of Slumfighters and advocates continuously for the creation of ‘better cities for all’. Preferably, there were no slums in the world, but recognizing their permanent existence in many parts of the world, it is absolutely crucial to make them more livable and foster local ownership, responsibility and democracy.
 
75% of the donation goes to the construction of the community center and the activities there and 25% to the advocacy work of IFHP.
 
Your help and donation is very welcome, as there is a lot to do. The money is used to renovate the two medium and the large community halls, provide sustainable solar energy and set the conditions for an entrepreneurial and educational hub with a reliable internet connection. The project itself will generate an income through the social rent of the spaces to community and city groups and programs. Your donation will have a lasting effect, setting in motion a virtuous upwards cycle.

Read more about the collaboration between IFHP and Goodwings here

 

If you have any questions, please contact IFHP project manager Ditte Amskov at d.amskov@ifhp.org