This project’s Final Meeting was held in Nairobi, Kenya in November 2012
The meeting was co-organized by Patricia Figueiredo Walker, the project coordinator, and Sadique Bilal, the research assistant at Kilimanjaro Initiative (KI), without whose support and assistance, this meeting would not have been possible. The field visits to research sites in Nairobi were organized by the Kilimanjaro Initiative (KI) and the Kenya Debt Relief Network (KENDREN). Most of the meeting was held at the Biblica Guest House on Dennis Pritt Road in Nairobi, where the out-of-town participants also stayed.
The objectives of this meeting were to:
- Provide an opportunity for project partners to present an overview of what they accomplished during the final year of the project;
- Discuss ways to disseminate project results and outcomes;
- Report on the involvement of students;
- Provide an opportunity for students to present on their research projects and receive feedback from the team;
- Visit the communities with whom local partner NGOs have worked to implement this project;
- Discuss lessons learned and challenges faced;
- Consider the political and social justice implications of this project through a process called Praxis Mapping;
- Conduct an end-of-project evaluation and document the project’s achievements;
- Discuss future plans
On November 6, project partners visited the Kenya Wildlife Service, where growth of the city and animal conservation are both subject to climate change pressures in a complex web.
They also attended a community meeting in Silanga, a village in Kibera – the largest informal settlement in Nairobi and second largest in Africa.
There, participants visited a sports field upgraded by Kilimanjaro Initiative (KI), a partner CSO, and attended a community meeting hosted by village elders, youth representatives, KI and the University of Nairobi.
Silanga residents spoke to the group about challenges they currently face, including pollution of the Nairobi Dam, poor sanitation, migration and overpopulation, inadequate infrastructure and living conditions, lack of access to clean and potable water, flooding, and climate change. As the team witnessed while in Nairobi, intense rains prove a real challenge for residents of low-income areas in Nairobi, such as Silanga. In lieu of proper drainage systems, residents use sandbags to stop rainwater from entering their homes.
Youth representatives spoke about youth involvement in criminal and illegal activities in Kibera due to lack of opportunities. The youth present (all of whom are now involved in productive work) have started a community garden with the financial assistance and guidance of Kilimanjaro Initiative.
While in Kibera, the team visited the garden, which had been heavily impacted by recent heavy rainfall. KI and the youth have since started looking at different strategies to minimize the impact of heavy rains on the garden, which they hope will soon become a source of income.
Following the meeting, the team took a brief walking tour of Silanga, where sanitation is an income-generating system. Residents typically pay about US$0.10 to access public toilets. Although the municipality has set up public toilets in Kibera, local for-profit water cartels prevent the public from using these toilets, because they make profit out of selling this service.
Following the visit to Kibera, the team went to Mathare, Huruma – another informal settlement in Nairobi. The field visit was organized by the Kenya Debt Relief Network and hosted by local community groups, who spoke about political and sanitation challenges faced in Huruma and how the community is addressing them. During a walking tour of Mathare, community hosts
showed our team alternative models to water commodification. The team was shown how water is captured in storage tanks by community organizations and sold to users. However, the money is not taken as profits but instead goes back into the community. There was a diversity of projects supported under this model, including a car wash and a community garden.
The project team’s final meeting was successful, in that it allowed us to complete the circle of information sharing and reflect together on the outcomes of our project. Partners from Maputo and Durban were able to visit the sites where the Nairobi team has been working, in Kibera and Huruma, and speak with local people, officials, and students about climate change, sanitation and water governance (just as we did in the other two cities during our 2011 project meeting there).
In both formal presentations and informal conversations, partners shared information and compared situations and views. We reported to each other on the project’s challenges and successes, made plans for further dissemination of the project’s results, and had fun together in interesting, hospitable surroundings, thanks to the great planning and hard work of Sadique Bilal on behalf of the Nairobi team.