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Umande Trust Leads in gradual Slum improvement

Umande Trust

By Douglas Namale


Umande Trust together with other Civil Society Organisations CSOs seeks to demonstrate how installation of improved bio-centres in slums can be focal points for showcasing the green agenda, urban renewal and gradual slum upgrading.

Through Integrated Urban Environmental Planning (IUEP) program, Umande focuses on a 60m radius area of influence around a bio-centre where individuals and groups can mobilize themselves, share information, plan together and promote green basic urban services.

They are determined to improve sanitation, agro-forestry and solid waste management in the slums. They make sure slum dwellers take the lead role in slum upgrading by identifying their needs and proposing solutions themselves.

According to IUEP Project Officer, Ms. Aidah Binale, "the programme is part of the strategy to contribute to vibrant, dignified and secure urban living environments, free of slums".

Aidah anticipates an upgraded slum, even in areas outside the 60m radius. "Implementation of the planned interventions will benefit the community through better planned environments, access to improved sanitasion and access to information" . She explains.  Adding, there is need for capacity development in management, sanitasion  services and  appreciation of rights based advocacy.

Aidah says,"the community has been involved in mobilizing, planning, dreaming and problem identification.  Collection of socio-economic data, mapping their surrounding, designing and presenting feedback". She adds, the overall objective of the programme is to support communities at 60m radius to prepare integrated environmental plans as a basis for improving the livelihoods and living conditions.


A sanitation block, which generates electricity through

its exreta, and cooking gas. The facility is dubbed bio-center

The Approach

Umande Trust employs a participatory planning approach emphasing on the community participation, partnership with all stakeholders, and other key players. Jasho Letu planning committee chairman Mr. David Kihara says  "the community is best suited in identifying  their social and settlement  problems". He believes the community only needs to be guided to develop intervention strategies for their own slum improvement.

Field Survey

Kihara led the community to conduct a Field survey in Katwekera Village, Kibera to indentify the spatial data on what is existing and areas of interventions. The data collected shows the physical elements within the settlements such as roads, and rail networks, natural features such as rivers / streams, vegetation, and valleys. This data is assisting communities and Umande Trust to appreciate existing conditions upon which planning and interventions should be based.


The 2009 population census shows Katwekera sub location has a total population of 24, 991 persons, of which 54% are male and the remaining 46% are female. Average household size is 5 persons. The field survey conducted in 2010 showed Jasho Letu project area has a total population of approximately 2,100 persons representing 520 households, which comprise 47% females and 53% males.

Housing and Land-use

The survey indicated that 92% of the structures are residential. Approximately 83% of the structures are constructed using mud and wattle, and 10% of houses are made of Galvanized Iron Sheets (GCI), with the remaining 7% made of timber. The bio-centre and Carolina medical clinic are the only existing permanent structures.

Water and Sanitation

Out of the total 76 structures located within the project area only 18% have access to water kiosks / point located in close proximity to them. 82% of the structures don’t have direct access to water services. Approximately 49% harvest rain water using their roofs.

Water services are mainly provided by water vendors. It is a 24hrs business operated by water vendor cartels. Efforts by the Government, WSUP and CCN to provide water in the area have been frustrated several times by having water pipes mains supplying water in the area uprooted. Majority (90%) of water vendors have illegal water connections from the main pipelines.

A 20 litre container costs between Kshs 3 and 10 (during shortage). Unreliable water supply is attributed to the vendors who deliberately fail to supply water in a bid to charge higher prices.


Less than 50% of structures within the project have on-site sanitation facilities. The survey revealed that less than 25% of the toilets were not in use due to their bad conditions. Lack of proper bathrooms resulted in many residents taking baths in their small rooms.  Jasho Letu Bio-centre charges Kshs 3 per visit and Kshs 10 for per shower.  The survey, revealed 59% of the residents use the bio-centre.


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