• Come dance with me

    The moment the Sarakasi dancers and acrobats appear on stage, one feels their pulsating, vibrant energy. The dancers bound onto the stage exuding graceful athleticism often associated with world-class acts like Cirque du Soleil, yet exhibiting a uniqueness that has come to be recognized as the Sarakasi (which means “circus or acrobatics” in Kiswahili) dance … Continued

  • Can recycling help Nairobi cut its waste?

    Solid waste management is Nairobi’s most visible environmental challenge. Rubbish heaps piled high with paper, plastics and other waste are an everyday feature of the city’s landscape. Dirty, torn plastic bags are seen wedged stubbornly into roadside features such as drainage, pavements and shrubbery in poor and more affluent areas alike. With a growing population, … Continued

  • Examining Nairobi’s split personality

    Walking through certain parts of Nairobi, one is struck by the formal elements that highlight the city’s conscious march towards becoming a “world-class city.” Images of the formal or “modernity,” such as the development of public commuter rail, shopping malls with mega supermarkets and organic food outlets, and tall, all-glass skyscrapers that house multinational corporations … Continued

  • Responding to refugees in urban settings

    Sequestering refugees in rural camps is no longer the norm: The most recent estimates indicate that almost half of refugees flock to urban areas and just one third to rural camps, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). But while agencies are adjusting their approaches, they are still struggling to match their response with their … Continued

  • On food security: The prevalence of price hikes

    NAIROBI: According to a recent assessment of the city’s food security, undertaken by the Kenyan government and two international food organisations, the proportion of urban poor is rising steadily. In a city where almost all high-density urban settlement is informal, the assessment’s analysis of the city’s vulnerability to food insecurity reveals that 13% of households … Continued

  • A World-Class City-Region? Envisioning the Nairobi of 2030

    Garth Myers (2014). A World-Class City-Region? Envisioning the Nairobi of 2030. American Behavioral Scientist, Published online before print September 29, 2014.       Abstract A jaundiced optimism has surfaced in the past few years for a number of cities across the African continent. There is optimism for the moment in cities from Dakar to … Continued

  • Water in Nairobi: Unveiling inequality and its causes

    Water in Nairobi: Unveiling inequality and its causes. Les Cahiers d’Outre-Mer, 263: 335-348. Water and sanitation in Nairobi face problems common to many cities of the developing world which grow too fast. This situation allows the stark differences in socio-economic between the wealthy and the poor to translate into unequal and inequitable consumption of available … Continued

  • “You Are All Terrorists”: Kenyan Police Abuse of Refugees in Nairobi

    This 68-page report was based on interviews with 101 refugees, asylum seekers, and Kenyans of Somali ethnicity. The report documents how police used grenade and other attacks by unknown people in Nairobi’s mainly Somali suburb of Eastleigh and a government order to relocate urban refugees to refugee camps as an excuse to rape, beat, extort money from, and arbitrarily detain…

  • The Case of Nairobi, Kenya

    Urbanisation in Kenya has a long history with urban agglomeration in the form of trading centres being found along the Kenyan coast as early as the 9th Century AD (Obudho 1988: 3) . However, the growth of many urban centres can be traced to the pre-independence period when they were used as centres of administrative and political control by the colonial authorities (UNCHS 1985). The proportion of Kenyans living in urban centres increased from 5.1 percent in 1948 to 15.1 percent in 1979, to 18.0 percent in 1989 and 34.8 per cent in 2000. There are…

  • A World Class African Metropolis

    When it was formed in 2008, critics hastily dismissed the Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan Development as unnecessary political baggage for the taxpayer and even predicted that it would be a flop. But the first Minister to hold the docket, Mr Mutula Kilonzo, now Justice Minister, shrugs off such insinuations: “We want to transform Nairobi into a major wealth creation hub that will change the lifestyle of its residents”. Pointing out that his vision…

  • Provision of ARVs in a resource-poor setting: Kibera Slum, Kenya

    Kenya is one of Africa’s largest informal settlements. Health indicators are extremely poor and HIV prevalence is estimated at 20%, almost twice the national average. Despite ARV drugs being made available in a pilot programme implemented by African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) and Centre for Disease Control (CDC), enrolment rates into the programme have been very low raising questions about strategies for providing ARV in resource-poor settings. Description: Since 1998 AMREF has been implementing a community-based health care project …

  • Crime and Violence Trends in Nairobi, Kenya

    This paper examines the phenomenon of youth crime in Nairobi especially in relation to youth gangs. The case pays special attention to the Mungiki movement and street families. It also examines some of the organized responses to crime of this nature. As the administrative, political and commercial capital of Kenya, Nairobi is a significant trendsetter in the country. The city holds approximately 3 million residents, 10% of the Kenyan population. An additional 1.5 million persons…