A Changing Community and the Fears Ahead

Nairobi is one of the world’s fastest-growing urban spaces. But for communities located near its centre, in historically low-income areas that served the growing city with the cheap workers needed to staff its booming businesses, the mood is grim. Huge infrastructure projects in search of new land are turning their attention to informal settlements and previously unattractive sites. Even when the resulting evictions do not lead to human rights abuses, they still shatter communities.
This project explores these changing neighbourhoods and the lives of those experiencing the loss of their homes. It addresses the decisive and divisive development policies in the housing system and their consequences for access to social wellbeing in these uncertain times, during and after the pandemic. For those of us born and raised in Nairobi, the sense of place we used to have while growing up has drastically changed. New structures, political changes and waning housing affordability leave us facing an uncertain future in and around the city that we call home. You can view more of the project here

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Issak Abdi Adan, the chairman of the Kariobangi Sewage Farmers Self Help Group having a reflective moment in his temporary house in Kariobangi. In the morning of 4th June 2020 Issak Abdi’s house got destroyed and without due notice. He had been living in the land since 1996. At the time of the demolitions, he had a title and court order to bar the demolitions.

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Wairimu Mwangi - the chairlady of the Kariobangi Sewage Farmers Self Help Group shows the title deed of the land where they were forcibly evicted to pave way for a government funded project.

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Fire breakout in Kibera - incidents of fires in Kibera have always been a challenge to contain in the populous localities in Nairobi. Expansion of roads is meant to ease access to the interiors that were previously facing remedial challenges to fire breakouts or health emergencies.

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Eshter Wanjiku Gitau, 68 years old, talking about how he had difficult ways finding a home for his son Benson Gitau - b.1977 who has a disability issue. When the houses were being destroyed she was not around. She saved only the bed for Gitau. Esther Wanjiku used to work as a government horticulturist headquartered in parklands, now she gets no pension after retirement. They had no notice of the demolitions. She had a plot with the title deed.

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Patrick Ngobia Mwangi and his wife Regina Wamboi with their Children, Christine Waithera (10 years), Peace Wanjiru (5 years), and Lucky Wanjiru (1 year) sharing their one room apartments in Kariobabgi. Life changed for the family amidst the pandemic when their homes were destroyed and forcibly removed. Patrick Ngobia Mwangi lost his job (he had a hotel and a shop) during the pandemic. Now, they live through the assistance of friends and well wishers.

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Mary Chepkoech and her two children rest on blockades of a by-pass construction site in Nairobi. The demolished houses for the construction of the bridge left many families homeless. The houses were demolished to give more space for road expansion leading to human rights issues including forceful evictions.

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A view of Kariobangi North Sewage land where close to 5000 families got evicted. Residents of Kariobangi North on Monday woke up to the sound of rumbling bulldozers flattening structures, leaving over 5,000 people shelterles

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A view of a road being extended inside Kibera slums, Nairobi.

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