ABSTRACT

There was a loud commotion about halfway through our community planning meeting in St. Teresa's Church in the Mathare informal settlement in Nairobi. Mathare is one of close to 200 slums in Nairobi without such basic services as water and sanitation. The massive shantytown is an informal settlement, so for decades it has been ignored by government and service providers. Working tirelessly through its labyrinth of muddy, unpaved streets, jam-packed sheet-metal roofed and dirt floor huts, community groups have organized to plan for a better future. The meeting was the culmination of years of organizing, surveying, mapping and generating specific proposals for improving the lives, living conditions and health of Mathare residents.