Posted by: fancywriter | February 25, 2012

History of Kibra

The Home of the Marginalized Nubians

Facts about Kibra
Kibra is a village on the outskirt of Nairobi, about six kilomters from the city center. It is a home for the Nubian community whose forefathers were settled there by the then British colonial government after conscription from the army, the Kings African Rifles (KAR). Nubians originated from the northern Sudan.
Kibra Nubian village as it is known, came into being early last century, after the area was designated a military reserve for the demobilized KAR soldiers.
Kibra was already there when Nairobi was made a city in 1902. Kibra was registered in 1917/18, and survey map reproduced in 1934.
The official original area of Kibra was 1497.5 acres. This area has however been reduced to its current 600 or so acres by the successive governments employing the policy of marginalization, and land grabbing by
Kibra Problems
Kibra lost its origin soon after indipendence. These problems were started by selfish politicians who wanted to keep control over their voters. The first change we saw in Kibra was the change of the name from Kibra to Kibera, the corrupted name adapted soon after indipendence. This was intentionally done to distort the history of the area.
Kibra is now a home to more than 500,000 people, a figure released by the civil society organizations. The national sensus done in the year 2009 put the figure at 250,000, this latter figure is largely believed to be a distoted figure.
Majority of the population are people who invaded the area for political or economic reasons. Cheap and affordable housing in the area made it attractive to people who earn low salaries, and at the same time politicians invited their supporters to gain voting power.
This great influx of people in Kibra made it to be the largest slum on Africa.
Challenges facing the Kenya Government.
Among the challenges facing the government and those who want to resolve the land question in Kibra are:
1. Competing rights between the Nubians, who settled in Kibra more than 100 years ago, even before Nairobi bevame a city, and migrants who have continuously been settling there since after indipendence.
2. Polotocal competition between major tribes like the Luos and the Kikuyus. Each one trying to outnumber the other.
3. Economical interest of those who believe tjey have a right to the piece of land they have invaded: owning a land in Kibra is a bog deal, and they will use any means available to protect their interests.
Challenges facing the Nubian Community
1. Uncertainty about the government giving back the Kibra land to the Nubian community. This issue of Kibra land has been internationalized through media, Human Right bodies, and the African Court. But the government s still quiet.
2. The community has to continue keeping the government under pressure claiming their rights and onternationalize the issue. Use international organizations and international law. Tickle the mind of decision makers.
3. Thecommunity must always remain united, inity is critical to delivering a clear message to the government.
4. Community must be organised.
5. The community must be sensitive to the unfulfilled promises given by the successive governments about the Kibra land. On the contrary, tensions were created between the Nubians and other comminities, while the politicians from the major tribes incited their followers to violence.

Posted by: fancywriter | November 6, 2012

Origin of the Nubians

Origin of Nubians

Nubians are non-Arab Muslim tribes who originated from the Nubia region – which is an area between Aswan in the southern Egypt and Dongola in the northern Sudan.


Most Nubian groups speak their own dialect of the Nubian language mixed with Arabic (Arabic being the common language of business and trade in Sudan). Although this group of people speaks different languages, they are identical in social, economic and cultural organization. This was the reason why those who relocated to East Africa – ie. Kenya and Uganda and some parts of Tanzania found it easy to identify themselves as Nubians with one common language, (Nubian language).


Nubian Lives

The Nubians are traditionally settled farmers. They are characterized by dark skin. Many of them have what might be called “Arab” or “Mediterranean” features, while others have more “Central African” features.

Clearly they are not and never were a “pure race” since from ancient times they have intermingled with peoples both from north and south.


The Nubians are unified, however, by their strong cultural allegiance, by their language and by recognition that they are people with a very ancient and glorious past

Posted by: fancywriter | September 6, 2012

Community Strategic Plan

English: SWOT analysis diagram in English lang...

English: SWOT analysis diagram in English language. Français : Matrice SWOT en anglais. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)







PASSION: Lets develop passion to have progressive Kibra.

Passion is a very simple and yet a very important word. The word means ” a strong feeling of love or anger”. What you really are can be seen by where your passion lies. Passion is the ingredient that makes transformation possible.

It is said that skill provides you options while passion pushes you to pursue options – ignore passion and forget progress.

So we want to transform as a community! To begin the process of transformation, we must have an accurate assessment of who we are, where we are, and where we want to be. Hence turning to SWOT analysis.

First, let’s look at our Kibra passionately:

  1. We all know that there is a great “passion” among our community for our Kibra. People love the ambiance, the natural setting, the country side, the history, the heritage and much more. These feelings have unfortunately, been largely destroyed by the politics of this country.
  2. There is a strong sense of community. We are proud of ourselves, our community organizations and our neighbourhoods.
  3. There is a sense of entrenchment. As people say, “we all love progress, it’s the change we hate”.
  4. None the less. We recognize the opportunity in pursuing fresh ideas/attitudes. There is a desire to create a new vision plan for the future and coordinate efforts among the community.
  5. Too much focus on issues and weaknesses. We need to promote our strengths among ourselves. Then we will be better be able to present our strengths to visitors and others outside our community.
  6. There are specific issues that are foremost in our minds:
    1. To unite each one of us so that we speak from the same voice.
    2. To get the tittle deed for our land.
    3. To protect our quality of life and address the well being of our people.
  7. There are strengths to build upon and opportunities to pursue:
    1. Co-ordinating the talents and energies of our people to achieve a common vision.
    2. Arts, culture, recreation and leisure
    3. Heritage
    4. Under-utilized resources
    5. Honesty
  8. Our people are knowledgeable, experienced and brimming with interesting and innovative ideas. The challenge is to make good use of these valuable resources.

Some SWOT ideas by topics:

  1. Arts, Culture and Recreation

Strengths . Community spirit and pride

. History: rich historical background

. First community to settle in Nairobi

Weaknesses . Community lacks tradition of volunteering their time and talent for the benefit of

Its people.

. Lack of broad vision, policy and leadership for culture and recreation

. No organised programs for community culture and recreation.

. Lack of funding to carry out such programs.

. Knowledge of community about culture or events is poor; need better communi-


. Limited or no opportunities for recreation.

Opportunities . Planning, developing facilities for culture and recreation.

. Acquiring facilities for such

Threats . No volunteers coming forward.

. Lack of funds.

  1. Economic Development : Labour Market/ Training

    Strengths . People: educated, diverse, young

    . Community networks and organizations

    Weaknesses . Lack of broad vision and common goals

    . Not addressing needs of neediest

    . Lack of linkages between employers, training agencies

    . No involvement in small businesses

    Opportunities . Focus on small businesses

    . Focus on growth sectors: tourism, use our crafts, Tabaga, Kuta, Birish

    . Increased partnership activity : refocus/expand role of existing edu-

    cational facilities

    . Build stronger links with NGOs, business communities

    Threats . Competition for employment and businesses with other communities

    . ” Status Quo Thinking ”

  2. Our Neighbourhoods

    Strengths . Neighbourhood identities and strong traditions

    . People : diversity, good mix of age, interests

    . Facilities : affordable (own) housing

    Weaknesses . No recreational facilities

    . Most houses are temporary structures, no insurerence

    . Increasing costs leading to affordability problems

    . Growing gaps between “Haves and Have Nots”

    . Lack of common vision/goals between community

    . Lack of vibrant neighbourhood

    Opportunities . Associations, events, planning, communications.

  3. Community Services : Education, Health and other Instiyutions

    Strengths . Educational infrastructure

    . Strong base of institutions/ programs

    Weaknesses . Working in ” Silos ”

    . Not communicating with ” ordinary people ”

    . Not6 connecting with neighbourhoods

    . Not focusing on children early enough, infant pre-school programming lacking, need

    Parenting supports.

    Opportunities . Aging population : skills and experience can be tapped.

    . New partnerships, roles and approaches

    . Plan and evaluate programs and policies from health perspective

    . Increased focus on early years of life: parenting skills and support.

    Threats . Resources required : funding expertise etc.

  1. Community Services : Role of Non-profit Organizations

    Strengths . People : volunteers, community organizations

    . Generosity of the community

    . Seniors/retirees : education, experience and skills to offer

    Weaknesses . Aging population : can we4 meet needs? Lose active volunteers

    . Gap in meeting needs, lack of funding, lack of assessment of needs,

    Lack of coordination – identify NGO to work with

    . Lack of long range funding

    . Underestimating ( not aware of magnitude of ) needs of those in poverty

    Opportunities . Establish link or coordination with NGO

    . Community work by youth/students, get them into community service early enough,

    (not activists)

    . ” corporate giving has no place to but up”

    Threats . Government abandoning responsibilities and dumping onto NGO

  1. Youth

    Strengths . Youth : diverse, educated, with new skills, can help each other

    . Supportive community organizations : Boys clubs, Girls clubs etc.

    Weaknesses . Lack of social, cultural recreational facilities

    . Lack of training to large percentage of youth – access to employment

    . Lack of understanding and trust to our young people by general public

    . Involvement in drug abuse, thuggery

    . No programs and funding for supports to youth : counselling, healthcare


. Lack of vision that recognises importance of youth to community future

Opportunities . Focus on community needs and sustainable development

. Establish funding for youth needs

. Link educational/training services and facilities to youth

. Take advantage of youth skills; technology, creative arts

. Match older workers with youth as mentors

. Increase focus on youth

Threats . Increasing gap between ” Haves and Have-nots ”

. Increasing homeless among youth

  1. Seniors

    Strengths . People : friendly, cultured and diverse

    . Quality of life : natural, vibrancy of community, mid-class/low class, family


. Upholding cultures of the community

. Influential to community youth

Weaknesses . Lack of targeted facilities for recreation and leisure ; need seniors centre

. No comfortable permanent housing

. Contributions of seniors to community recognised and appreciated?

. Enough home care for the aged?

. Not enough or lack of coordination of information ; services, programs,

Cultural activities etc.

Opportunities . Take advantage of increasing number of seniors as an increasing base of

Potential volunteers for community groups and activities

. Use seniors expertise in consulting field.

Threats . Incidence of poverty among older seniors and particularly women

. Lack of access to healthcare

. Lack of long term focus/vision in the community

. What do we know about future of this demographic group

. Increased sense of loneliness among seniors as support networks weaken

Among families, friends, neighbourhoods.

  1. Housing

    Strengths . Land available for housing development

    . Own houses.

Weaknesses . Government still unwilling to give Kibra land back to Nubian community

. Lack of capital for affordable housing projects once title deed is obtained

. Lack of identification of partner from private sector to participate in housing project.

Opportunities . Form task force to develop strategy ready for implementation

. Build partnership with non-profit organisations to address issues concerning low

Cost households.

Threats . Slow approval process by the government of the Kibra land title is abarrier

. Unwillingness to give the land to the community.

Posted by: fancywriter | August 30, 2012

Self Help Project….A Project for Self Sustenance

Community Support Group

Community Support Group (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Self Help Groups Employ Self Help projects  for self sustenance

Self Help Group ( SHG ), also known as mutual aid or support group are groups of people who provide mutual supports for each other. In a SHG, members share a common problem. Their mutual goal is to help each other to deal with and if possible end the problem (s).

With many countries, mainly in the developing parts of the world facing increasing fiscal constraints, coupled with bad governance, many of the rural communities get less attention from the governments. These groups of people have come to realize that there is need for the residents to mobilize themselves for the task of community of development.

The concept of Self Help Project ( SHP ) has come in handy – this is an empowerment strategy that enables local people to exploit to their advantage human and material resources which would otherwise be wasted, in order to perpetuate ignorance and poverty.

SHP enables people to embark on development projects through concerted efforts.

When we talk about SHP, we put before us the question of everyday life. Like in any business plan, and  for this matter any self help initiative, an essential foundation is built for social enterprise.

For meaningful objectives to take root, people need to plan projects ( activities ) that can realize the vision of self reliance and sustainability. This way, through tireless efforts of the managing committees and indeed ordinary members, a self help group can see several self help projects to carter for the ever growing needs of the community members.

Posted by: fancywriter | August 29, 2012

Self-help Project, a Tool for Development

Beehive Art

Beehive Art (Photo credit: Martin Pettitt)

Self-help project as a tool for development

The case of Ummah Welfare Group.

Community development is a social action process in which people of a community get together, or put their efforts together to deliberate on a development project with the aim of enhancing their economic conditions.

The community normally identify common and individual needs which make the group plan to meet these needs, execute the plans with a maximum reliance upon community resources.

With many developing countries facing increasing fiscal constraints, coupled with bad governance, many of the rural communities get less attention from the government hence the need for the residents to mobilize themselves for the task of community development. Self help project is an empowerment strategy which enables local people to exploit  to their advantage human and material resources which would otherwise lie dormant.

This report highlights the project ” Beehive farming “, which was conceived by Ummah Welfare Group.

The report focus on the fact that the project was started by communal effort. The project team committee comprised of four members who were unanimously selected by members of the group. None of the committee members had previous knowledge of bee farming.

A consultant who is experienced in bee farming was employed to start up the project.

Location of the project

The project is located on a farm or plantation in Mtwapa  about 12 kilometers from Mombasa city, off  Malindi road.

Awareness, mobilization and execution of the project

The most widely used source of awareness to the members about the feasibility of the project was conveyance of meetings. Method of resources mobilization were voluntary donations, and no loan was involved.

At the time of writing this report, the project had taken off the ground but still at its early stage.

The next stage of reporting will specifically address the following matters:

a)  The desirability of the project among the members of the community.

b)  The goals for which the project was embarked upon.

c)  The leadership structure involved in the execution of the project.

d)  Strategies used in mobilizing people and resources for the project.

e)  Other parties involvement in the project.

f)  The extent to which the expectations of the members from the project have been met.

Posted by: fancywriter | August 26, 2012

Community Forum

Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology

Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The word community as we know, is defined as a group of like minded people.

In a community, common interests and common objectives are necessary. People in a community live together for the achievement of common objective. In other words people unite and speak with one voice. They see that unity is essential to foster their agenda.

Unity comes from people uniting, it is therefore obvious that community is not the same without one of you.

Think of a community like a body of a creature, made up of many different parts, each part has its function which contributes to the working of the whole body. The body is therefore not complete without one of the constituent parts.

Using the above example to emphasize the importance of unity in a community, it is well known that some communities are so small in numbers that their only strength will come from their unity. Without uniting to speak with one voice, they are prone to discrimination and marginalization.

One such community which has been marginalized and denied their basic Human Rights for decades are the Nubian community in Kenya.

To address this evil discrimination problems, unity among the members of the community was put as a top agenda. The unity among members of the community enabled a united push for their grievances and common objectives.

This push for unity saw various community forums being established. Two most important forums that were very useful are the Kibra Land Committee ( KLC ), which engaged the Kenya government on the issue of the Kibra land ownership, and the Community Rights Forum ( CRF ), which drew up a comprehensive presentation to the Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission ( TJRC ), a body formed by the Kenya government to look into the past injustices.

Todate, the efforts put up by the community appear to bear some fruits as the government has shown some willingness to address the land issue. Save for the result from the Justice and Reconciliation Commission whose reports are awaited.

Posted by: fancywriter | August 10, 2012

Nubian IDPs in Kenya

English: Nairobi (Kenya) Skyline from the city...

English: Nairobi (Kenya) Skyline from the city center, 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Slum Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya.

English: Slum Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This blog is about the Nubians Internally Displaced Persons in Kibra, on the outskirt of Nairobi, Kenya.

Definition of IDP

Persons or group of persons who have been forced or obliged to flee or to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of, or in order to avoid the effect of armed conflict, situation of generalized violence.

Nubians occupied Kibra, a 4000 acre piece of land on the outskirt of Nairobi – the capitol city of Kenya since mid 19th century. Nairobi was not the capitol city at the time. The land was given as a gift to the Sudanese soldiers who were brought to Kenya by the then British colonial government.

However, lack of security of tenure for the Kibra land has been used to push them away from their surveyed plots to give way to ‘ sputtering ‘ housing upgrading projects that have hardly benefited the Nubian community, as majority of them became landless and homeless.

These demolitions and evictions took place between 1968 and 2001, to give way to the following development projects:

. Jamhuri estate in 1968

. Otiende estate        1968 – 1979

. Salama and Fort Jesus     1963 – 1969

. Olympic estate  1968

. Ayany  estate  1977 – 1980

Persons displaced by development projects have special needs precisely because of their displacement. They may require special protection in cases where they are forcibly displaced without resettlement, compensation or respect for human rights. This is true whether they are in camps or merged into urban slums. This is true in the case of the displaced Nubians in Kibra.

Posted by: fancywriter | April 19, 2012

Slum Dwellers and the Problems they Face

Every day, every week, every month and every year, the numbers of slum dwellers increase in several parts of the world. The number is expected to continue growing unless there is a serious concerted efforts by all the stake holders.
Kenya’s capitol city of Nairobi has some of the dense unsanitary and insecure slums in the world. Among them are Kibra, Mathare Valley and Korogocho, just to mention a few. It is estimated that almost half of the city’s population live in slums and squatter settlements within the city, with little and inadequate clean water and sanitation. Housing conditions in these slums are deplorable and most residents have no form of secure tenure.
Kibra has been rated as one of the largest slums in the world, and the largest in Africa.

Challenges met in slums.

Challenges met are numerous. Most people lack money to buy food and other essential commodities, and rent houses. Access to all goods and services depends on having a cash income.

What are the causes of slums?

Slums come about because of, and perpetuated by a number of forces. Among these are rapid rural-to-urban migration, increasing urban poverty, inequality and insecure tenure – all contribute to the creation and continuation of slums. There are also homeless families, some because they have been evicted from other areas and some because they cannot afford any housing. And people escaping political conflicts – typically the Internaly Displaced Persons (IDP).
Lack of secure tenure is a primary reason why slums persist. Slum dwellers have no ways and incentive to improve the surroundings. Secure tenure is a ptecondition for access to other economic and social opportunities.
Another big cause is poverty driven by failures of governance in states where public resources are squandered without accountability, and injustices and marginalization are on increase.

Posted by: fancywriter | April 17, 2012

Orphans and Destitute Children in Slums

Lets care for orphans and destitutes in Slums

We seem to forget that among the dense population in the slums are orphans and destitutes. Their numbers is increasing at a rate twice as much as the increase in the slum population.
Wars, great epidemics (like HIV) and poverty (due to bad governance), have created thousands of these orphans and destitutes.
These young people who are the nation’s future are growing and chances are that many of them will reach working age and will have no earning capacity due to lack of education as they cannot attend schools. Many will probably not be able to vote.
This category of our community need help. If we cannot help them to have earning capacity,or help them to to have upright morals, they will grow up and be a menace to the society.

Early intervention programs.

Everybody should have a passion for shared civil responsibility. If everybody play their part, we would hold the key to understanding and solving our own problems.
We are hoping that Human Rights organizations, in their campaigns, will take a proactive role to assist in the matter, probably organise awareness day to spread the message about.
However, the biggest help should come from the goverments in Africa. They should stop bad governance, injustices like marginalization which are the major cause of poverty. We all know that poverty is driven by failures of governance in states where public resources ate squandered without accountability.

Posted by: fancywriter | April 11, 2012

Nubians Kibra Life – Past and Present

In the 19th century, the British established the British East Africa territory which comprised the land which sits astride the equator, which is todays Kenya.
To be able to settle in these new found territories, the British brought with them soldiers from other parts of the world, which included soldiers from the Sudan. This was done to ensure their security. And these soldiers later fought alongside the British army in the first
and second world wars.
These Sudanese soldiers were a formidable force and a spine of the early British army in this part of the world.
The Sudanese soldiers mentioned above were the Nubians settled in a military reserve in Kibra, which is located on the outskirts of the city of Nairobi, after conscription from the British army.
The Kibra land was a gift to the Sudanese soldiers in recognition to their distinguished service.

What kind of life did the Nubians live?

The first Nubians who settled in Kibra lived a communal life similar to the medieval village life. A village life consisting of a population comprised mostly of farmers, houses, barns, sheds and animal pens, clastered around. This was surrounded by ploughed fields and pastures.
This village was a home for the Nubians. Most were born, toiled, married, had children and died within the village. Most rarely venturing beyond its bounderies.
The Nubians had their own language, dress code, cuisine, ceremonies, ( birth, circumcision, wedding, etc ), dances, arts and artefacts.
The typical Nubian house architecture featured four bedrooms, a visitor room, a large sitting room, with large windows overlooking flower/tree gardens on the outside. The kitchen was located on one side at the back, while the bathrooms and pit latrines were on the other.
The houses were built with poles and wooden planks and frames bought from forrest owners around Kibra.
The roofs of the houses were made from flattened oil tins and oil drums, (typically 20 lt kerosene containers were used in those days).
The walls of these houses were made of mud, and cow dung collected from the livestock keepers around. The wall finishing was so smooth that it had the appearance of cement plaster. These walls were oftened patterned with flower paintings that made them very attractive. Some of those houses, over 90 years old, are still standing there today.
Vegetable gardens and farms for other crops and livestock were developed further away from the main house.

Recreatinal facilities.

Kibra had enough recreatinal facilities, particularly playing grounds for children. These grounds were also used for wedding ceremonies and other communal activities. For indoor activities a central hall was built in the centre of the village, which was also used as a cinema.

Post indipendance life.

Life in Kibra changed gradually after Kenya attained indipendance in 1963 from outside influences. New comers from outside Kibra for economic and political reasons. By 1980s and 1990s, the number of outsiders grew so big. The Nubians then became a small minority in the ratio 1 to 12.

Changes in sociocultural environment.

The big inflow of outsiders in Kibra had a bad effect. It is known that social and cultural influrnces cause changes in attitudes, beliefs, norms, customs and lifestyle. Inability of the Nubians in Kibra to foresee changes in these areas and react timely was devastating.

Challenge facing the Nubians.

The biggest challenge now facing the Nubians of Kibra is whether the government of Kenya will honour the promise of giving the Kibra land ownership documentation.

See my other blogs:
. History of Kibra
. Nubian Culture

Posted by: fancywriter | April 5, 2012

Minorities Rights Still Being Abused

Report alleging that the minority peoples rights are still being abused in Kenya has been written by the Africa Commision on Human and Peoples Rights.

Two rullings made earlier by the Africa commission are the subject of this abuse:
1. The rulling made in February 2010, regarding the teturn to the Enderois community of the land from where they were forced out by the government of Kenya in 1978.
2. The landmark rulling in November 2011, on the Kenya Nubian children rights to citizenship.

Minority and marginalized groups still face serious problems which threaten their existence in most parts of the world. This is despite the tremendous efforts put by the Human Right Organizations and other civil bodies to change the world order for the better. These changes being promoted have little or no impact at all especially in African countries. Land grabbing and other injustices by political elites are still the order of the day, and is geared towards denying the marginalized recognition and drive them into poverty.
The threats to these groups are historical in nature, emanating from the policies of the colonial masters. But this has been taken a notch higher by the policies of the post-indipendance republics where political elites have considtently failed to recognize and ratify international and reginal instruments that recognize rights of all human beings. This is the biggest problem.
The minorities are marginalized because they lack political representation and therefore their concerns are never heard of or taken into account.

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