Calvary Primary School Construction troubles in the Informal Settlements

NTS002: Participatory Hygiene & Sanitation Transformation (PHAST)
March 10, 2019
Gallery 2
March 15, 2019

So last year we were doing construction of latrines and kitchen facilities for a primary school in Kibera, Nairobi called Calvary Primary School. The thing is, in Kibera which is one of the largest informal settlements in the country, there are a lot of wrangles on ownership of land. Once we got the go ahead from the Provincial Administration i.e. the chief of the area called Makina in Kibera, which is close to the chief’s camp, we started construction. The site activities went on well until

when the construction team reached the erection of the roof structure, that’s when we felt the full wrath of the youth in Kibera.

A group of young men came and demolished the whole structure to the ground without prior notice or warning and we were left with our materials counting our losses. We finally came to understand that the group was from the Nubian community who believe that the land is rightfully theirs and until the land issue is resolved in the area they cannot allow any permanent structure (brick or stone) to be erected. The most puzzling thing is that in Kibera the provisional administration sometimes has very minimal control over law and order in the area. The area is governed by gangs and community leaders who have a lot of power and influence in all the developments in the area.

Finally after exploring our options including arresting these individuals and involving the police, we settled for a sit down with one of the community leaders and ironed out our issues. We were able to come up with an amicable understanding and the construction was able to be finalized. This was in 2011, and currently we are constructing another school in the same area and had to advise the client that the structures should be temporary structures to avoid any miss understanding. Also a sit down with the community leaders is deemed necessary before engaging in any activities in the area.

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