UN-HABITAT in collaboration with the Government of Kenya and the NGO Maji na Ufanisi, last week opened new public toilets and bathrooms intended to help improve the lives of destitute Nairobi slum dwellers.
The agency’s Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, hailed the new facilities designed to serve some 20,000 people and built at a cost of approximately USD 140,000 under the Kibera Integrated Water, Sanitation and Waste Management Project, part of the Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme.
Said Mrs. Tibaijuka: "The collaborative effort we have witnessed under the Kibera Water and Sanitation initiative assumes greater importance in the face of one of the most pressing issues facing our world today - rapid urbanization and its impact on communities, cities, economies and policies. Kenya’s slums are growing at an unprecedented rate.”
The Kenya Slum Upgrading Programme was set up in 2004 as a collaborative initiative between the Government of Kenya and UN-HABITAT. It draws on the expertise of a wide variety of partners in order to improve the livelihoods of people living and working in slums and informal settlements in the urban areas of Kenya through the provision of security of tenure and physical and social infrastructure, as well as opportunities for housing improvement and income generation.
At the fourth session of the World Urban in Nanjing, China this year, Kenya’s Minister for Nairobi Metropolitan Development, Mr. Mutula Kilonzo, Minister for Nairobi Metropolitan Development and Mrs. Tbaijuka, signed a special agreement to help uplift Nairobi. The ceremony was witness by Prime Minister Raila Odinga and several other senior officials.
Under the agreement, UN-HABITAT agreed to lend support to the establishment of the Ministry, preparation of Nairobi Metropolitan Strategy and a Spatial Development Plan.
The plan dubbed, Nairobi Metro 2030, aims to grow and develop Nairobi into a world class region, able to create sustainable wealth and quality of life for its residents, investors and offer an unmatched experience for its esteemed visitors. Further, it provides a framework through which the people of the Nairobi Metro Region will respond to current and future challenges over the next 22 years.
Backed by in-house experience and extensive global networks of professionals/practitioners and institutions, the plan is supported within UN-HABITAT’s mandate as the City Agency of the United Nations in addition to the fact that Cities are the engines of economic growth.
The Memorandum of Understanding will be signed against the backdrop of the Fourth Session of the World Urban Forum (3-6 November) in Nanjing, China, attended by a wide range of partners from non-governmental organizations, community based organizations, urban professionals, academics, to governments, local authorities and national and international associations of local governments. Under the theme of Harmonious Urbanization: The Challenge of Balanced Territorial Development, the forum provides all actors, a common platform to discuss urban issues in formal and informal ways and come up with action oriented proposals to create sustainable cities.
Nairobi Metro 2030 is part and parcel of the overall national development agenda. This agenda is encapsulated in Kenya Vision 2030 and the Grand Coalition Government Policy Agenda. These two documents are the country’s response to dealing with five key development issues, namely rapid economic growth, employment and balanced wealth creation, poverty alleviation, meaningful youth engagement and a vigorous pursuit of regional equity in all its manifestations.
Therefore, the Nairobi Metro 2030 Strategy aims at optimizing the role of the Nairobi Metro Region in the national development effort. It will be targeted at ensuring that it facilitates the effective and efficient utilization of the NMR’s resource endowments as well as an instrument for developing the other regions of the country through effective economic and other structural linkages to the rest of the country