There are approximately 2.5 million slum dwellers in the various informal settlements in Nairobi representing 60% of the Nairobi population, occupying about 6% of the land. Kibera houses almost 1 Million of these people,although there are controversy about the exact population of kibera,different entities have there own figures . Kibera is on 2.5 sq kilometer area and the biggest slum in East Africa.
The Government owns all the land.About 10% of people are shack owners and sub-let them to other residents as tenants.
Arguments come up that the reason behind undevelopment in Kibera is that, according to the Government records of history,it’s believed that kibera is a forest hence no human inhabitants,therefore emphasis for growth and development has not been take into consideration at a great magnitude.
The conditions of the houses are very low. The houses are in various categories and therefore the monthly rate depends on the size,location and the condition of the houses. Average size of a shack in this area is 12ft x 12ft built with mud walls, screened with concrete, a corrugated tin roof, dirt or concrete floor.Others are purely permanent and well furbished. The cost for rent is from Ksh 900 per Month. These shacks often house up to 3 or more people, squeezed and sleep on the floor, or seats are turned to bedding at night
The original settlers of kibera were the Nubian community from the Sudan. These is a marginalized community and occupy about 15% of Kibera, are mostly Muslims and own most of the shacks or are the Landlords. The word Kibra comes from then Nubian community which refers to a forest, as initially kibera was a forest. Kenya has 42 different tribes and kibera has a unique charm among the 42 tribes and various religions that peacefully co-exist in the 2.5 sq. km. area. The Nubian makes it the 43rd language/tribe.Most of this tribes are represented in the 13 villages of kibera,meaning the tenants who live in kibera are from this different tribes.
About 20% of Kibera has electricity.Electricity is supplied by the Kenya power and lighting company to almost every part of kibera.However,there is illegal connection of power that later puts the residents at a great danger.For instance,some lanloards tap only the live wires to their tenants,then,they have to improvise the other one.The consumption becomes high hence overloading the transformers leading to explosions. There has been several cases of electricity related fires causing massive damages.
The streets of kibera are equipped with street lights that operate all night.
Water is supplied through pipes to kibera residents from various stakeholders including the Nairobi water company,It is then stored in tanks and later sold to residents,at shs 5 per 20 liter Can,However some houses are well equipped and are connected with underground water pipes.
Toilet facilities are limited,and hence most of the available ones are shared by tenants,as provided for by the landlords.There are also public and self help toilet services for income generating,that serves the community.There are also NGO based sponsored toilet projects,like the UN HABITAT.
There are few government health centres in Kibera.The most dorminating health clinics are; charity,NGO,Missionary and Religious health centres among others.Most of the health services are offered freely or at a relatively low cost.
Majority of the kibera dwellers are the young generation.Due to rural- urban migration,kibera is filled by this gerenation,that consist of low level educated people,Its more worse because of the high rate of unemployment,this poses a great danger of insecurity because of the idleness.
Most of the available jobs are the casual ones, which are not sustaining,and are scarce too.Kibera is few kilometres to the Industrial area,and therefore the workforce to the industries rely on the semi- skilled people from kibera who walk to the industrial area daily to make ends meet.
Kibera is a business hub of itself in a unique way.As one walks around the streets in kibera,you are able to spot busy shops selling and offering different services,hardware,furniture,shops,electronic goods and many more.This goods are brought by suppliers and later stoked in their respective shops or stores and later consumed by the residents.
Kibera has been portrayed negatively outside the world as a place of violence,and all sorts of evil ! Exploring this friendly and hospitable place and seeing, is the only way to get rid of the negative mentality.