After collecting data and putting around 350 Kibra schools on the map, and developing a website, there was a need to have the Kibera parents to access the data. Map Kibera’s team organized the first parents outreach at a strategic position in Olympic where people would pass and get attracted to the booth they had staged.
This activity emerged from the Open Schools Kenya project supported by the Gates Foundation aiming to make education information easily available, accessible and useful to everyone as well as promoting data interoperability. This was a pilot project in Kibera that saw every school have a profile page with all their details ranging from the population to gender to programs offered to school fees to contact information etc.
By checking the school profile pages Map Kibera hoped that Kibera parents would be able to make informed choices of which schools to take their children to, depending on their capabilities and also preferences.
Parents started flocking around the booth, mostly interested to see in the map schools that their children attend. However, after seeing more details from the website they would spend more time checking the number of students per school and how much school fees different schools charge.
Joshua Ogure of Map Kibera demonstrates to parents how the Open Schools Kenya website works
“I can use this map when I need to transfer my child to a desired school because I now have all the information I need here,” says Stephene Otiende, a Kibera parent whose child goes to one of the public schools around.
Mr. Otiende was specifically happy that he would be able to check how much a school charges as well as it population before sending his child to any given school in Kibra. However a parent named Irene was quick to identify that her child’s school was missing in the map. “Why it is that Star of Hope and Charles Lwanga are missing here?” she asked. On trying to navigate the map, it was true the schools in question were missing, perhaps the school was too hidden, had relocated, changed name or just did not accept to be mapped. Those were some of the possible reasons that could lead to a school missing in the map. This information has helped Map Kibera identify any missing schools, which the mappers have already begun adding into the site.
Around 25 parents visited the booth and walked away with a paper copy of the schools map, and got a chance to view and navigate some other details of their children’s schools from the Open Schools Kenya website.
Lucy, Steve and Zack of Map Kibera at the booth
Now Map Kibera team is mapping the few missing schools and updating some of the key information and data. The next step is to start adding schools in other regions of Nairobi, and Kenya.
However, informal schools within the settlements like Kibera Slum, which make up 96% of the schools there, will not benefit from this directive to acquire title deeds since they lie on government land until the land ownership issue is permanently sorted out.
Speaking at the event, the National Lands Commission Vice-Chairperson Mrs. Abigael Bagaya noted,
“Since the Langata incident, the Government has taken action to secure schools across the country. The Commission has received 5000 applications from including Lang’ata Road Primary School. We have received complaints of land grabs from 350 schools. It is for this reason, we launch these national guidelines. We promise to issue all titles within 60 days of receipt.”
Also speaking at the event, Elimu Yetu Coalition Coordinator Janet Muthoni said,
“The Right to Play and the Right to Education is provided in the key international conventions and the Constitution of Kenya. The Government must revoke the title deeds for the Lang’ata Road Primary School from the private developer. The Government needs to appoint or empower an alternative to the interdicted Registrar Sarah Mwenda. The vacuum caused by her absence is causing a delay in meeting the Presidential directive to the 5,000 schools awaiting tittle-deeds.”
Also present were the public interest campaigners Boaz Waruku and Irungu Housghton arrested in the January 2015 incident, Irungu, SID Associate Director said,
“The courage of the children of Lang’ata Road has inspired a nation. Since January, there have been over thirty reclamations of schools and other public lands by the Government and active citizens. As we celebrate the African Day of the Child tomorrow on June 16 we honour their courage and call for all citizens and leaders to protect places of learning.”
Guide to Securing title deeds for schools:
Step 1- The school heads submit an application for a tittle deed to the Secretary, County Land Management Board
Step 2- The County Land Management Board (CLMB) will process the application to ensure it meets all requirements.
Step 3- CLMB approves the application and submits it to National Land Commission (NLC) for issuance of the letter of allotment.
Step 4- Pay administration fee for processing the title deed.
Step 5- NLC prepares the school’s lease document and submits to the Chief Land Registrar.
Step 6- The Chief Land Registrar registers the lease and issues a tittle deed to the school.
How you can report a case of Land-grabbing?
Step 1: Document the name of the school, plot number, county, total schools acreage, acreage grabbed, persons/agencies who have grabbed land and what they are using it for currently.
Step 2: Report the matter to the nearest police station and obtain an Occurrence Book (OB) number.
Step 3: You can report the information and OB number to a number of agencies and copy us. See (www.shuleyangu.co.ke)
When around 15 police trucks came to Kibera a few weeks ago to witness and protect the demolition of schools along the railway line, there was shock and tension as Spurgeons school was targeted. But before the bulldozer could reach the permanent building, the community members turned up in large numbers to stop the demolition, saying that the school belonged to them. They claimed that the school has been helping their needy children and they could not sit back and watch it go down.
“Bars are operating you can hear loud music, but schools that are helping the children are being demolished, what’s the government doing?”
47 schools, along with other structures including churches are expected to be demolished during the project, but attention to St. Juliet and Spurgeon forced a halt on the process for a while.
Kenya Railways decided several years ago to expand the railway buffer and reclaim the land, citing safety and interference with train passage. In 2010 they made their most recent enumeration of the residents and businesses along the track targeted for demolition, but residents say that these are already outdated. While residents have been promised new housing, they do not appear to have made concessions for the schools operating in the buffer area, other than saying that the schools be shut down and students enrolled at nearby government schools.
Recently, a petition by a section of the Project Affected Persons (PAPs) had been filed in court and a ruling was made, stating:
1. The petitioner’s petition fails and is dismissed
2. The Respondent’s cross-petition succeeds and it is hereby ordered that the recent illegal occupiers of the Railway Reserve whose names do not appear in the list of the Project Affected Persons do move out of the Railway Reserve and allow the Corporation to proceed with the Resettlement plan.
Their evictions however will have to take into account the following factors:
That at the time of eviction, neutral observers should be allowed to access to the suit properties to ensure compliance with international human rights principles.
That there must be a mandatory presence of Government officials and security officers.
That there must be compliance with the right to human dignity, life and security of the evictees.
That the evictions must not take place at night, in bad weather, during festivals or holidays, prior to any elections, during or just prior to school exams and in fact preferably at the end of the school term or holidays.
That no one is subjected to indiscriminate attacks.
The PAPs had demanded in their petition that a review of the enumeration be done since a lot of things had changed since 2010 when the last enumeration was done, but the Kenya Railways refused saying that it was going to be a waste of money and time and would only add more complications to the plan.
Community Meeting with Langata Youth Network
Recently, Langata Youths Network organized a forum to bring together all the affected schools and churches along the Railway to look at the way forward. They resolved that the people concerned with the demolitions be engaged further to make them understand why dialogue was still important in every stage and step they make. They also said that they will try to respect the court ruling by all means, but they wanted to understand who made the decision that some schools to remain while others to be demolished. The group then formed a committee to help follow up with all the relevant offices.
There has been a lot of silence since the demolition of the few schools happened, until recently when we saw a notice posted asking the PAPs to go for a vetting process. This sounded to me like a review that they had all along been crying for only called by a different name or word. It says that the vetting and complaint lodges will continue and a final list of the PAPs would be published publicly.
Meanwhile the schools already demolished are proceeding with learning as best they can. St Juliet returned some of its class roofs, while Spurgeon is squeezing inside their permanent building that the community members had narrowly rescued in the presence of heavily armed police.
According to the Relocation Action Plan (RAP) Document the Schools along the railway should close down and send their students to the few public schools in Kibra, but the Schools wondered how they would do it since the RAP did not give a proper guideline on who is responsible for taking the students to those particular public schools, and were not sure whether they would be admitted.
This piece was a collaborative report by Map Kibera’s team as part of the Open Schools Kenya project. Reported by Joshua Ogure, with map by Zacharia Wambua, school locations by Lucy Fondo and Douglas Namale, and reporting from Steve Banner and Jacob Ouma.