In Nairobi’s informal settlement of Kibera, there’s an area that not only lacks development and infrastructure, but has also seen plenty disaster. The local community calls this area Andolo (meaning deep sleep in sub-tribes of Luyha), where disaster is shaped by a number of challenges, including high levels of illiteracy (few residents have received an education beyond secondary school), high drug and substance abuse, and high pregnancy rates for youth. With more than 300 children squeezed into very tiny, dark classrooms, the capacity of Andolo’s only private primary school cannot accommodate all the families who are willing and can afford for their children to go to school. The school is located in the riparian zone of the Ngong River and is subject to significant flood risk.
Andolo’s specific geography further contributes to local challenges and disasters. Lying just above the polluted Nairobi Dam, Andolo sits between two of Kibera’s villages, Lindi and Silanga. With only four water points and very narrow routes, Andolo often serves as a hide out for criminals and residents can be trapped in emergencies such as fires.
Now the community is facing another challenge: the new National Housing Corporation (NHC) housing units, occupied by Nairobi’s new middle class living in Langata. Separated by the Ngong River, the contrast between Andolo and Langata is stark.
Andolo Flood related maps.
click the links bellow to see the clear images of the reserch maps
KDI’s research on flooding in Kibera that was conducted in 2015 and 2016, identified Andolo as one of the areas at greatest risk to drainage and riverine flooding. In addition, this area was exposed to cholera outbreaks in 2015 and is highly susceptible to other disease outbreaks given these conditions.
Comparing the aerial images of Andolo in 2009 and 2015 clearly illustrates how much of the riparian area has been occupied by new structures. In community workshops, residents easily identified structures that are most affected by flood extents and physical damage. One resident noted that:
“Two compounds were most badly affected, and up to now the residents haven’t resettled in these areas. Residents have not come back to live there as they used to live there before.”
(photos from IDEO mapping workshops.)
KDI carried out a household survey that took place before and after the “long-rains” of March, April, and May of 2015. The survey revealed that:
Andolo is arguably the most neglected area in all of Kibera. There are no CBO, NGO, or government initiatives of note. And although the National Youth Service (NYS) has been implementing a number of projects throughout Kibera, the Andolo area has nearly gone untouched. Nevertheless, the Andolo community is more united, and very much willing to do anything to improve the situation of their area.
In 2015, KDI began doing research on flooding and started working with the Andolo community to test different prototypes for flood-risk communication. In 2016 we committed to building a drainage system and a “Productive Public Space,” which will be the 10th project in the Kibera Public Space Project network. We have been engaging in design and community workshops since March 2015 and have recently initiated groundworks for the project.
In partnership with KDI, the community engaged in a mega clean up to keep their drainage clear of trash and to clean the area. This activity brought youth, men, and women together to improve their environment and to pave way for reducing localised flooding.
Residents are now working on a plan to start a garbage management program that will keep the area, drainage, and river clear of trash. The Nairobi County Department of Environment, supported the initiative by providing a truck for the day to transport the trash out to the Dandora dump site. This provided an alternative to dumping trash in the river as others do which is not solving the problem but instead transferring the problem from one place to another, within the same locality.
KDI is excited to celebrate 10 year of Productive Public Spaces with our 10th public space project that will take us back into one of the most challenging and challenged areas in Kibera where people are ready to work. We look forward to sharing updates on the progress of this project.
Photos from clean up.
Amos O. Wandera, KDI