SPECIAL PLANNING AREA

NMS projects slowly changing the face of Mukuru slums

Agency has built roads, a hospital and installed water stations for residents

In Summary

•By March 2022, no slum will be without roads, sewer lines and water, Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director-General Mohammed Badi said in January as he set his eyes on slum upgrading.

Patients at Mukuru kwa Reuben Level 3 Hospital on August 13, 2021
Patients at Mukuru kwa Reuben Level 3 Hospital on August 13, 2021
Image: WILFRED NYANGERESI

 

By March 2022, no slum will be without roads, sewer lines and water, Nairobi Metropolitan Services Director-General Mohammed Badi said in January as he set his eyes on slum upgrading.

The project started in Mukuru after it was noted that development in such areas remained a huge challenge with residents having difficulties in accessing basic needs such as water and healthcare.

On Friday, The Star toured Mukuru informal settlements and found the environment changing.

Accessibility to water has improved with proper drainage put in place. Healthcare has also improved with a hospital already commissioned there. NMS is also building roads as part of the life-changing projects in the slum.

Mukuru was in August 2017 declared as a Special Planning Area by the Nairobi City County government.

That declaration put a stop to any further developments in the area for a two-year period until a Mukuru Integrated Development Plan is produced.

Last year when NMS was established, it extended the SPA period for two years.

The move was in line with President Uhuru Kenyatta’s March 18, 2020, directive to Badi to undertake slum-upgrading initiatives in the capital.

One of the many objectives of the declaration was to develop ways that would promote the safety and health of residents.

A year later, Mukuru has had its first 24-hour health centre which was commissioned last month.

Mukuru slums which hosts almost half a million people is divided into five areas; Kwa Njenga, Kwa Reuben, Fuata Nyayo, Pipeline and Viwandani

Before the Mukuru kwa Reuben Level Three Hospital was commissioned, women were being asked to deliver in one hour and leave for home to give room for other mothers.

If you count all Mukurus, the population is almost half a million people. There was only one clinic that had seven beds and it was run by a Catholic institution," Badi said.

A roads that is under construction at Mukuru kwa Reuben on August 13, 2021
A roads that is under construction at Mukuru kwa Reuben on August 13, 2021
Image: WILFRED NYANGERESI

Roads

Construction of roads is part of the infrastructural development initiated in Mukure with many access roads to connect the area to other city suburbs.

The works are part of the Sh5.8 billion projects aimed at upgrading 408km of access roads across informal settlements in Nairobi. Seventy kilometres of the project are in Mukuru.

Works are being done by the Kenya Urban Roads Authority. Most roads are being re-carpeted and upgraded to carbo and bitumen standards.

Kenya Urban Roads Authority director-general Silas Kinoti had previously said the project will open up the slums to other parts of the city. He described the project as a game-changer.

"Due to lack of space, some of the roads we are constructing are narrow because until recently, they were being used as walkways by residents since very few households have vehicles,” Kinoti said.

Water

At a cost of 50 cents, families living in Mukuru slums will have access to 20 litres of water.

Mukuru kwa Reuben is set to be the first beneficiary of the water token system project that is yet to be launched by the national government

The plan which is being implemented by NMS and Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company has already seen 10 stations set up at strategic points in the area.

NMS deputy director for water and sanitation Stephen Githinji said residents will be required to buy water tokens depending on the amount they need.

Once one buys the tokens from the water stations, they will get a chip which they will insert to the stations to release the water the have bought.

“A token worth 50 cents will give you 20 litres of w2ater. Once residents buy the token and get the chip, it will automatically release the amount of water they bought,” Githinji said.

The aim of the water token system is to eliminate long queues at boreholes and water bowsers

With the water toke system, we don’t need water vendors to man the station. Only one officer will be in charge to serve the consumers,” Githinji said.

The operations of the water stations will be monitored easily by the Nairobi City Water and NMS because they are connected.

Water demand in Nairobi has grown to more than 810,000 cubic meters daily against a supply of 525,600 cubic meters.

At a cost of Sh1.7 billion, Athi Water Agency together with NMS last year drilled 193 boreholes across all the informal settlements in the city to address the shortage.

Five of those boreholes are in Mukuru. 

To access water that is free, residents queue in lines with their jerry cans.

NMS distributes one million litres of water across the city slums using its 42 water bowsers.

Mukuru slums will also be upgraded in a Sh15 billion programme through which 13,000 new housing units will be put ut.

The Cabinet approved the Mukuru Social Housing Project last year. It will be jointly undertaken by the government and private investors.

 

Edited by P.O