Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, was founded in 1902 by the British colonial government. In Kenya there are 42 different ethnic groups/tribes in which the largest is the Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya and Kamba. The government drew up a plan to segregate various ethnic groups and assigned each tribe a particular area of land in the capital. When people from other parts of Kenya moved to Nairobi to work, they were forced to settle in areas such as Kibera where the segregation plan forbade them to live elsewhere.
After Kenya’s independence in 1963 a large part of the settlements in Kibera became illegal, yet Kibera at present still increases in both size and population. Kibera is officially owned by the Kenyan government and has repeatedly made attempts to evict the illegal settlers and instead set up housing with higher standards and developed infrastructure. The result is that thousands of poor people loose their homes and new slums form in other areas.
Kibera is Africa’s second largest slum. The exact population is not fixed but it is estimated to be around 1 million. The population elements are on a surface of 2,5 square kilometers. The majority of the inhabitants live in extremely unbearable conditions due to the comprehensive unemployment.
The area is characterized by extreme poverty and humanitarian shortcomings such as clean water and sanitation. It is estimated that there are 2600 sanitation facilities where about 1000 of these are in use. It means that at least 500 people share one toilet. The illegal connection of water pipes polute the water, which is being sold at excessively high prices and is a major source to diseases spread. HIV/AIDS is another major issue in the slum. Between 12-15 % of the total population is estimated to be infected. In certain groups, where young women are the most vulnerable, the percentage is higher.
The crime rate in Kibera is high mainly due to the widespread of poverty. Riots and demonstrations are common.
Despite the harsh living conditions and hardships, Kibera is a place of creativity and ingenuity. The inhabitants willingness to change and improve their living conditions is high but unfortunately they lack money and other resources.