At first glance, it would seem that Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya and Coachella, CA, USA wouldn’t have much in common. They are over 9,600 miles apart! One is considered a developed country, the other “developing”. Yet despite these differences, the living conditions faced by residents in both cities are remarkably similar. So what does Coachella have in common with Kibera, one of the world’s largest slums?
• A lack of oversight and regulation of housing contributes to hazardous living conditions.
• There is often no formal sewage infrastructure (such as piping) for the disposal of human waste.
• Rivers, streams, and open sewage run through or are adjacent to homes and neighborhoods.
• There is a severe lack of potable water.
• Garbage and junk pervades the landscape and trash collection can be either infrequent or non-existent.
• Access is limited. When it rains, roads can become impassable, forcing children to wear plastic bags over their shoes when going to school.
A partnership with Pueblo Unido Community Development Corporation (http://www.pucdc.org/) and the community of St. Anthony Trailer Park in the Coachella Valley has led to KDI’s first US-based site. We’re currently in the design phase and have been working with the community through regular workshops since the beginning of this year.