H.E. Hon. Soita Shitanda, Minister of Housing
H.E. Hon. Charity Ngilu, Minister of Water and Irrigation
H.E. Hon. Beth Mugo, Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation,
His Worship the Mayor, Councilor Geofrey Majiwa
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Ladies and Gentlemen
Introduction and Acknowledgements
It gives me great pleasure to be here today, at the handing over ceremony of the water and sanitation facilities built under UN-HABITAT Kibera Integrated Water, Sanitation and Waste Management Project (K-WATSAN), which is part of the Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme (KENSUP).
I would like first to express our gratitude to the representatives of the Government of Kenya here present for taking the time to join us today. I also wish to extend our sincerest gratitude to the Government of Kenya and our development partners for the opportunity to collaborate and work together on the task of making slums better living and working environments for the urban poor, along with the inseparable task of reducing poverty. .
Let me also take this opportunity to congratulate the Settlement Executive Committee (SEC) of Soweto East and the community members for its selflessness and commitment to improving the living environment of this village. It has been very active and fully involved with all facets of the project development and implementation.
Urbanisation trends in Kenya
The collaborative effort we have witnessed under the K-WATSAN initiative assumes greater importance in the face of one of the most pressing issues facing our world today - rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies and policies. Kenya’s slums are growing at an unprecedented rate. The urban population is at present 40 percent of the total population. More than 70 percent of these urbanites live in slums, with limited access to water and sanitation, housing, and secure tenure. The government and local authorities are faced with the serious challenge of guiding the physical growth of urban areas and providing adequate services for the growing urban population. If the gap continues to grow between the supply and demand for urban services such as water supply, sanitation and housing, the negative consequences of urbanisation can become very severe.
The Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme
The Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme was set up in 2004 as a collaborative initiative between the Government of Kenya and UN-HABITAT. It draws on the expertise of a wide variety of partners in order to improve the livelihoods of people living and working in slums and informal settlements in the urban areas of Kenya through the provision of security of tenure and physical and social infrastructure, as well as opportunities for housing improvement and income generation.
K-WATSAN is a pilot demonstration project implemented in Soweto East (one of Kibera’s 13 villages) in collaboration with the NGO Maji na Ufanisi and it aims to improve the livelihoods of people by supporting small-scale, community based initiatives in water, sanitation and waste management, and by providing basic services, infrastructure and capacity building. K-WATSAN introduced and tested UN-HABITAT’s new development approach within KENSUP and focused on the provision of basic infrastructure, such as water and sanitation, as a start to improving life for people living in the slum. The local community has been fully involved in the project which demonstrates that slum dwellers can take responsibility for their living conditions, and that their contribution is essential in finding lasting solutions. Their participation also builds social cohesiveness and integration within their community.
Principles Guiding the Project
The project is guided by the following principles:
- Improving water and sanitation conditions through the provision of storm water drains and seven communal water and sanitation facilities. Additionally, seven facility management groups have been set up and capacity building activities are being conducted for these groups to facilitate the management of the facilities that have been put in place.
- Improving solid waste management through the provision of small-scale door-to-door waste collection and recycling services. A Non-Motorized Transport project to be implemented by the NGO Worldbike in collaboration with the CBO Soweto Youth Group is currently underway. It aims to develop modified bicycles as a cost effective carrier for waste management services provision, and for creating alternative income generation and business opportunities amongst low-income people.
- Improving mobility within Soweto East, by constructing a low-volume road with storm drains and pedestrian walkways. The Government has completed the first 500 meters and the remaining section of the road will be funded by UN-HABITAT and will be constructed in the next months using community based-labour force.
- Providing household power connections in conjunction with the Kenya Power and Lighting Company. Electricity was extended to 1,000 units in Soweto East.
- Establishing a community and youth resource centre, which will house a satellite one-stop youth centre, a dispensary for small children, a rehabilitation facility for children with disabilities and an additional communal water and sanitation facility;
- Strengthening the institutional and technical capacities of selected key target community groups by conducting training courses. For instance, a Kibera-wide youth training in low-cost construction and carpentry is ongoing. Funds for the training were drawn from the donation by the UN Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, during his visit to Kibera in January 2007.
UN-HABITAT – African Development Bank Cooperation
As part of our collaborative arrangements with the African Development Bank in the WATSAN sector, UN-HABITAT undertook a preinvestment study for the African Development Bank for the upscaling of the K-WATSAN initiative in Soweto East, with extensions to Laina Saba and Silanga. As a result a scale- up of the K-WATSAN was approved.
Collaboration with the Government of Kenya.
Mr. Chairman, Excellencies, invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, as you will notice from the collaborative efforts I have alluded to we have indeed come a long way on the difficult march towards creating a conducive living environment for our brothers and sisters in the environs of Kibera and other areas in Nairobi.
During the recent UN-HABITAT Fourth World Urban Forum in Nanjing, I had the singular pleasure of welcoming H.E. the Prime Minister, and the Hon. Minister of Metro Nairobi to a signing ceremony on a Memorandum of Understanding for further collaboration on improvement of the overall living environment of the Nairobi Metropolitan Area. UN-HABITAT will therefore continue to be a reliable partner of the Government of Kenya in particular and development partners and communities in general. We stand ready to extend the full support of my agency, within our means, as we jointly continue on the path towards improving on the environment and livelihoods of slum dwellers through the Kenya Slum Upgrading process.