Fondation Botnar, a Swiss philanthropy organization, visits the informal settlement of Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya, October 2022. Credits: UN-Habitat

Fondation Botnar Visits Mathare: Showcasing Youth-Led Projects and Empowerment Efforts in an Informal Settlement

Share This Post

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.

Public spaces in Mathare are very few despite the high need for them. It was a result of this identified gap that the Mathare youth cleaned up the garbage that was dumped in this piece of land and turned it into a public space where they can play soccer and hold entertainment activities like concerts and festivals. This is a safe space where children and youth can freely interact and engage in creative activities.
Mathare mapping volunteer. Credits: UN-Habitat
George Gachie
Mathare Roots
It is amazing to see the passion and yearning for empowerment from youth in Mathare. Facing their local leaders, they haven’t shied away from voicing out their grievances but requested for their support in their different economic ideas and projects. This is a first step to ensure youth engagement and governance in any community setting.
Joyati Das
Fondation Botnar

More to explore —