The Kilimani Project, KUWA, Nairobi City County (NCC), Centre for Urban Research and Innovations (CURI) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) held a student’s meeting at the University of Nairobi aimed at creating a student’s community network to join and facilitate a solid waste management project taking part in Kilimani, Kileleshwa and Kangemi areas of Nairobi. This was the second meeting held since the commencement of the project on 11th November, at Kilimani Primary School.
The project is a bilateral government project between the Government of Kenya and the Government of Japan to improve the urban environment of Nairobi City and strengthen the capacity of solid waste management (waste collection and transportation) in cooperation with Public Service Providers (PSP). The project started in the year 2012 and is expected to run to the year 2016. It started with a preparation phase collectively undertaken by NCC and JICA technical teams who did the preliminary study on the situation of Nairobi’s urban environment and proposed intervention measures to be implemented. The implementing agencies of this project then divided the Nairobi City into 9 zones according to population, area size, income level and its ratio. Three zones – Kangemi, Kilimani and Kileleshwa were then selected to implement this pilot project for the fiscal years 2013 and 2014.
The student’s community network has been brought into the project at the start of the pilot project. The pilot would introduce the new solid waste management system (The franchise system) and heighten public awareness. At the start of the meeting, the Director of KUWA, Ms. Zahra Kassim got a chance to talk to the University of Nairobi students about the importance of this project. She claimed that it was sad how Nairobi neighbourhoods had turned into dumping sites and filthy streets. Something that seemed to resonate well with students’ thoughts. Nairobi City, the capital of Kenya had tainted its image over the years by neglecting the management and disposal of solid waste. She went further to discuss with the students about their expected involvement in the project. The student’s community network would be a major player in facilitating community awareness campaigns that would include clean-ups, seminars, presentations and even mass and social media outreach. Above all the students were seen to be proper drivers of sustainability of such an initiative in terms of providing direct feedback to the NCC and JICA and also suggesting innovative ways of community outreach and project implementation.
Such a collaboration would provide a variety of opportunities to the participating students. These include social skills, practice and exposure, internship and research opportunities. Students would also be eligible for participatory certificates and an opportunity to provide economically creative interventions to the franchisee companies and the NCC.
In the coming days the students’ community network is expected to establish a working team with chosen leaders for coordination of roles and activities. The coordinating team will keep in touch with all the partners in a bid to get updates on the project activities. NCC and JICA have provided an implementation framework that outlines cleanup and community seminar activities for the coming months. In the meantime a Memorandum of Understanding prepared between the University of Nairobi, School of the Build Environment and the partners has been circulated for signing.
A look into the urban environment could not have come at a better time than this, when there are many policy, governance and institutional reforms in Kenya. The project would be a proper example of community participation and involvement for a positive change.
Prepared by James Wanyoike