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Facelift promises Kibera residents security

Kibera was previously synonymous with awful smells emanating from clogged sewerage and drainage lines and garbage dumps that included “flying toilet” waste.

Walking at night was made worse by the dark alleys that separated congested houses with no proper lighting.

Accessing medical services was a luxury reserved for the few who could afford the cost, especially if it required travelling for some distance.

POLICE POSTS

All that is fast changing. Where a dusty footpath lay is a 3.1 kilometre tarmac road (from the District Commissioner’s office to the Kibera Highrise Project), giving access to the slum’s interior.

The once-dark alleys are illuminated by street lights and dwellers have a relaxed sense of security, especially with the many police posts that have been built.

Nine police posts have been set up in the past two weeks in areas identified as crime hot spots by the Nairobi Metropolitan Crime Observatory Report.

Before the development, the nearest police station from the slum was in Kilimani, four kilometres away.

The changes, championed by the national government in partnership with the Nairobi county government, are redressing the obsolescence of the biggest slum in East and Central Africa and trying to bring dignity to the residents’ lives.

ABLUTION BLOCKS

Although most of the houses are shanties, the breath of fresh air brought about by the availability of amenities like ablution blocks and police posts is something that locals are not taking for granted.

“We are glad that for the first time the government is paying attention to us. It is a good thing because Kibera badly needed a cleanup, street lights and additional police posts to help us deal with insecurity,” said John Njau, a Kibera resident.

Done with the help of civil works offered by 675 servicemen from the National Youth Service (NYS) and 3,375 youths from Kibera, the rehabilitation project will be left under the management of saccos comprising local residents.