18 October, 2022, Nairobi, Kenya. – This sunny afternoon in the very heart of Nairobi, Fondation Botnar representatives visit Mathare, one of the biggest informal settlements in Kenya. Fondation Botnar is recognized for their mandate to improve the health and wellbeing of young people living in cities around the world. Organised by UN-Habitat, Mathare Roots and Mathare Environmental Conservation Youth Group (M.E.C.Y.G), the visit show-cased the various youth-led projects that have empowered young men and women in Mathare and positively impacted the community at large. Mathare Roots and MECYG have for many years created opportunities, and continue to, in Mathare despite the economic hardships and challenges they face in the process.
The visit started with the viewing of the Austin Grounds that is one of the few public spaces available in Mathare. Austin Grounds, previously a garbage dump site, is a soccer pitch where children and youth hold and enjoy football matches, festival events and concerts among others. Schools also use the field in conducting physical education (P.E) for the pupils and students.
From Austin Grounds, the visit culminated at the Mathare 3A Hall where Mathare youth and local government officials had a meeting with Fondation Botnar representatives. A presentation of the different projects such as Planet Smart City Community App and the City Scan tool were done illustrating how these tools have helped in identifying the available resources and facilities in Mathare and the gaps that needs to be acted on. The visit provided a platform where the youth voiced their concerns to the local government officials and the support, they needed to enhance their empowerment.