by: May 7th, 2024 comments: 0

Despite previous efforts to install lights in Kibera, some through the Adopt-A-Light program initially headed by Nairobi women representative Esther Passaris, and others through the Nairobi County government, there have still been reports of a rise in criminal activities within Nairobi’s informal settlements such as Kibera, Mathare, Mukuru among others.

Previous programs had overlooked the need to actively engage the community in the process of installing lights in our informal settlements, in the quest to achieve the goal of having proper security measures that can protect residents within the slums.

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Other challenges that have faced those other programs include frequent blackouts witnessed in slums as a result of tampering with electricity lines, transformers, and power cables.

It was for this reason that Map Kibera, Kibera Town Centre, and LIF came together to conduct a ‘Measuring Lights Impact’ survey within Kibera slums, to get the much-needed input and community engagement ahead of solar-powered street lights installments, not just in the streets of Kibera, but also deep inside the residentials.

The survey has been conducted in Gatwekera Village, Kianda Village, Soweto Village, and parts of Makina Village.

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Feedback has been good so far, with many residents welcoming the idea of having solar security lights as opposed to electric lights.

Nicholas Ogutu, a Kibera resident who lives in Soweto West village, and works as a construction expert, says his work sometimes involves traveling long distances, and most of the time he has to leave the house in the early morning hours when it is still dark.

“With the lights having been installed in the village, I will not have to worry about being attacked by criminals when I happen to leave while it is still dark outside, and that will have improved my work and by extension, my life” he adds.

Irara, who lives in Kianda village and is waiting to join college, hopes that the lights are installed as soon as possible, to help her while leaving or coming back from her early morning or late night classes in case she will have any, once she joins college.

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The survey was conducted by 10 youths from Kibera, who walked from one household or business to the other, with a set of questions that helped to determine the state of security in each village and the location of each light within that said village.

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As the project proceeds, we are looking forward to getting more feedback from the residents in the post-installment survey once the lights have been installed in all the designated areas.

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